Brands That Became Unsalvageable
Given how much time, effort and investment go into establishing a well-known brand, it is understandable why many businesses are reticent to completely abandon a well-known marque even if it becomes associated with negativity.
Despite being at fault for the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, as well as the disastrous PR that resulted from it, BP did not change their name, only their logo.
This is an important baseline to set, as it highlights just how much of a disaster a brand needs to suffer before businesses will withdraw it or avoid using it in future.
Lance Armstrong Foundation
When it was founded in 1997, the Lance Armstrong Foundation was an inspiring cancer support charity built on the improbable survival and success story of America’s greatest cyclist not named Greg LeMond.
The brand story was that Lance Armstrong was a promising young cyclist who nearly died due to stage three testicular cancer, but survived and won six Tour De France championships.
However, rumours linking him to the use of performance-enhancing drugs lingered throughout his career until he confessed in 2012, leading to a lifetime ban and the ruination of his personal and charitable brand.
The organisation rebranded as the Livestrong Foundation and has moved away from its yellow and black colour scheme, both references to Armstrong and his now-tainted cycling career.
The Signet Group, which owns a huge number of jewellery brands such as H.Samuel, has one that it will never use again, despite the entire group being named after it at one point.
Ratners Jewellery had a reputation for being cheap, bright, tacky but immensely popular with the public, and Gerald Ratner himself was an outspoken larger-than-life leader of the company.
That outspoken nature cost him everything, however, as he famously ridiculed his own products and the people who bought them in a televised speech, which caused the value of the Ratners Group to fall by over £500m.
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