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The Most Impressive Brand Comebacks

Updated February 13, 2020 1.6k votes 295 voters 33.0k views14 items

List RulesVote up the brands you think have made the best comebacks.

Even a great brand occasionally falters, especially in this precarious age of the Internet. Occasionally, however, when a popular brand falls, it's able to pick itself back up again. What are some of the most impressive brand revivals of all time? Companies like Apple, believe it or not, were once the butt of jokes for their perceived inability to keep up with competitors, and let's try not to dwell too much on the mercifully brief Hostess Twinkie downfall of 2012.

Below are some examples of stellar brand revivals. Vote for the companies that you think have the most impressive brand revival stories. 
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  • Though the classic Cadillac insignia was uncritically accepted as a sign of quality for decades, it became plagued during the end of the '90s with an identity inhospitable to younger buyers. Its luxury status faded as well, supplanted by Mercedes and other, more upscale vehicles.

    More recently, however, Cadillac has premiered a line of luxury cars, including the extremely popular XTS, and the luxury hybrid ELR coupe, which has helped reestablish Cadillac as a brand for the young and hip. In the face of Lincoln's announced discontinuation of its legendary Town Car, Cadillac appears poised for a takeover and has already begun to replace the Town Car in many luxury transport markets.

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  • A popular standby in men's fragrance for several decades, Old Spice's intense, woodsy odor began to seem antiquated and harsh to the strapping youth of the '80s and '90s. The brand's sales declined as it increasingly suffered an unwanted association with older, squarer gentlemen of a bygone era.

    In the '90s, the brand was sold to Proctor & Gamble, who gave it a rebranding makeover. An expansion of the product line into shower gels, shampoos, and other manly grooming accoutrements combined with a jokey, self-effacing advertising campaign helped the brand regain its former glory with young dudebros everywhere.
  • Members Only was a staple of suave yuppie fashion during the '80s, but fell out of favor more recently, dismissed for their dated, throwback look.

    As with all things in fashion, however, the brand has come back around and is once again making high profile public appearances. The brand's signature VIP jackets in particular have achieved a pronounced retro-chic popularity and have, once again, become coveted celebrity status symbols. 
  • Like Eastman-Kodak and other producers of color film, Polaroid suffered during the early 2000s due to the wildfire spread of digital film technologies. Traditional film technologies that had been standard for decades became obsolete almost overnight. Worst yet, with more and more digital photos being destined for immediate upload to social media, the novelty of Polaroid's instant snapshots was no longer really a thing.

    Despite an initial slump in sales, Polaroid has managed to stay in the game by adapting to the digital takeover while simultaneously embracing its own nostalgic kitsch status. Polaroid now offers a digital upgrade of its iconic One-Step camera that snaps digital photos, then uses a tiny printer to spit out a physical copy. Maybe not as compact or convenient as an iPhone camera, but still a fun (and popular) tech toy.

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