Service of Long Lasting Brands

April 11th, 2011

Categories: Advertising, Branding, Business Decisions, Fashion, Luxury, Marketing, Memory, Quality


There are branding specialists galore who help people create and maintain brands, their own, a product’s, a company or corporation’s. Yes, people are considered brands today to be packaged like a good or decorative element.

I’m forever fascinated by the longevity of so many who made a mark that continues to achieve buzz and attention even though the venerated person is either no longer in the public eye and most frequently is long dead or out of the public eye well before the word brand was in fashion.

brigettebardotThe April 7 issue of FurnitureSeen that appeared in my emailbox last week featured a Hepburn Modular Sofa which, the copy noted, could have been inspired by either Katherine or Audrey–and Bardot, a “curvaceous seating collection” for which the Spanish designer Jamie Hayon had the French 1950s/1960s movie siren Brigitte Bardot in mind.

Estée Lauder died in April 2004 and yet she still makes headlines for her namesake company that now sells 28 brands. In The New York Times article, “What Would Estée Do?” Natasha Singer quotes longtime employee and global brand president Jane Hertsmark Hudis: “I think a lot of us ask ourselves, ‘What would Leonard do? I also ask myself: ‘What would Estée Lauder do? Am I upholding her values and her vision?'” Leonard A. Lauder is chairman emeritus and Estée’s oldest son.

The End Note of Culture & Leisure Magazine‘s issue No. 44 features a smiling Coco Chanel and a quote, “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” The issue of this smart, fashionable, visionary publication was devoted to southern debutantes and editor/founder Natalie Rushing chooses to remember Chanel.

doris-dayDoes anyone think often of Doris Day these days? Will Friedwald interviewd the top grossing actress of all time recently for The Wall Street Journal‘s Leisure & Arts section in “Sunny Day Keeps on Shining.” Friedwald spoke with Doris on the phone-she doesn’t like being called Ms. Day-who said that when she moved to Carmel, California 30 years ago “I put all my records and everything away. I didn’t think anybody cared if they heard me or not.” And yet she continues to get fan letters and is perplexed that “after so many years out of the spotlight, her recordings and films continue to be cherished by generation after generation.” Friedwald adds that Sony Music will release a retrospective box set later in the year.

What do you think makes a brand long lasting? Does it help if the inspiration is dipped in the rosy glow of selective memory and is no longer in the harsh eye of public scrutiny that seems to enjoy watching people fall? Did these stars of business, fashion and film represent a kind of quality we miss or try to achieve today? Do you consider yourself a brand?


6 Responses to “Service of Long Lasting Brands”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    There’s no clear cut answer as to why some brands persist, and others vanish. Over and above recognized quality, it could also be creative logos which attract buyers.

    Among a number of mysteries, is the fact that Coca Cola, known to wash away corrosion on car batteries, continues to be swallowed by the billions of gallons throughout the world. In light of this fact, quality does not rule, except in dreams, and companies known for their contempt of the public, display brash ads and thrive. Think insurance when it comes to spending millions per TV ad, then welshing on sick people, desperate for a cure: Those who are paying for those ads.

    A friend recently complained that there is “no end to the stupidity of the American public.” Unfortunately, he is probably right.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I can tell you why Coke sells in spite of its car battery cleaning “benefit” [and I’m sure it gives dentists a chunk of work]: It tastes delicious. I have had to wean myself from drinking it every day, [I now drink seltzer], and treat myself to a Coke with lots of ice on weekends when I don’t have fresh cider handy. There is nothing better than a fountain Coke! I’ve also been told that it’s addictive–I can’t confirm this.

    More than the American public can be called stupid. Where clever marketing meets people who don’t think bamboozling can happen. But the people I identified–the brands that keep on giving–were solid citizens in their niches and they attract followers and fans for generations.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    No sense in arguing over taste, and not everyone thinks coke is delicious. As for the logos displayed, it’s difficult not to observe that the companies they represent are high end and not available to many. Lexus is great, but who can afford the car? Not everyone owns a PC, the $ sign is a worship which speaks for itself Even the religious signs bespeak of hefty donations to various faiths before one is met with approval from much of the clergy and the congregation leadership.

    A good salesman, according to someone who was a master of the trade, coaxes people into buying something whether they want/need it or not. “The better the salesman, the easier he will fall for a sales pitch,” he added. Translation: Bamboozling is a given, and anyone who thinks it can’t happen must be on another planet – at least spiritually.

    Now off to get a strong soy chai – not the most popular drink, perhaps, but one which is not calculated to annoy the stomach or to send the dentist off to China!

  4. PJC Said:

    My grandfather who lived in Italy had a theory that if a particular wine tasted good, he stuck to it. I learned that concept from him, and when I find a brand that I like, it takes a lot to wean me from it. A case in point is Liederkrantz Cheese. Before inexpensive airfreight made it relatively easy to import European specialty cheeses, it was a sophisticated American cheese with a modest following. Eventually, the small producer that made and packaged it in a little wooden slatted box, sold out to Borden, which started mass-producing the cheese and then got rid of its distinctive (and no doubt expensive) packaging. Eventually Borden dropped it, but I stuck with Liederkrantz until the end. Brands last because someone did something right, like the original New York farmer who invented Liederkrantz.

    As to names and brands, I know that considering human beings, dead or alive, to be brands, is now part of marketing, but the idea still bothers me. I respect and use Listerine because it does what it promises to do, not because Dr. Lister supposedly first made it.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I well remember Liederkrantz and loved it!

    Your Dr. Lister comment reminds me of the Guinness Book of Records. I never think of Dr. Lister and similarly, I think that most people don’t realize that the Guinness beer folks were and may still be responsible for the records. Branding specialists would use these examples as poster children for how NOT to feed a brand to keep it alive.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    This economy is no doubt impacting great salesmen and marketing tactics. The escalating price of gas–I heard $5/gallon over the summer–will take the song out of many pocketbooks that will open to pay for food, shelter and transportation–but no frills.

    As I write this, I begin to see the value of vintage icons that trigger thoughts of a less stressful period.

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