Comeback Brands of 2011
January 3, 2011

Several forgotten brands with long-ago legacies are positioning themselves for a comeback in 2011. Tapping into deep brand equity and consumers' desire to reconnect with traditional American values, several brands are launching ad campaigns that combine nostalgia with the brands' updated image. The following brands are worth watching this year.

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Planters Peanuts


Planters Peanuts, owned by Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT - News), hopes to revitalize the brand with a makeover of its mascot Mr. Peanut. In animated commercials and online videos, the formerly two-dimensional peanut character is now living and talking with the voice of popular actor Robert Downey Jr. He even has a sidekick, named Benson. The forgotten brand founded in the early 1900s is building a younger audience with a new Facebook page and Twitter buzz, and gaining attention of traditional media outlets like the New Yorker.



The deeply American brand from General Motors (NYSE: GM - News) already has people talking. San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners--called "the agency of the decade" by AdWeek--began working with Chevrolet a few months ago. GM also bought a spot in the 2011 Super Bowl, and marketers expect a Chevrolet commercial to be featured. "They are a comeback brand, but time will tell if they are going to come all the way back," says Michal Ann Strahilevitz, marketing professor at Golden Gate University.

Infusium 23


Miriam Quart, president of ad agency Madison Avenue Consortium, runs Infusium 23's new campaign. She says "the cult hair brand" hopes to innovate in 2011 and reconnect with its audience through nostalgia and by bringing them back to basics. "Remember when your mom used Infusium 23?" asks Quart, who hopes to remind consumers. A new owner, significant marketing investment, new packaging and two new ad campaigns are helping bring this 86-year-old brand back to life.

Little Debbie


This nostalgic snack cakes and sweets brand launched a grassroots campaign this year to remind consumers of the joy of eating Little Debbie, named after the founder's granddaughter. The Million Smile Mission is a bus tour moving across the country that offers samples and collects pictures of fans to feature in an online mosaic of the brand's logo. Plus, frequent sweepstakes and a digital outreach on Facebook and Twitter are helping revive the iconic brand and introduce it to younger generations.

Pert Plus


According to marketer Quart, whose agency runs this campaign, hair care line Pert Plus had not been advertised in five years. Now owner Idelle Labs reportedly will invest $10 million to $15 million in advertising for Pert Plus and its deodorant line. Playing off the insecurity caused by the economic downturn, the new ads focus on the family and basic essentials. Quart also hopes to tap into the new savings mentality by emphasizing its 2-in-1 products.


Click here for a complete list of the Comeback Brands of 2011


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