Blast from the past: 10 brands to watch in 2001

I was going through some old files and found the January 2001 issue of (now defunct) Brand Marketing. This is actually pretty surprising, as I’ve rightfully earned the nickname of “the great purger” of old files at Trajectory.

The cover article is ten brands to watch in 2001. And the sub-head reads Brand Marketing picks the consumer products and services most likely to make an impact this year. It’s their top picks for the biggest potential newsmakers. Not necessarily the most successful, but those judged to make the biggest impact.

Here they are. Hot off the presses (so to speak), with summary rationale for their inclusion on this list:

1. amazon.com – given its diversity beyond books, personalizing the on-line experience and strong bent on customer service. Truth be told, I’m a big fan.

2. america online – having just acquired Time Warner, the 23 million subscriber company was trying to vault ahead in the multimedia world. FYI, it’s subscriber base (as of 6/10), was 4.4 million.

3. AT&T – which was just breaking up (again) in 2001, splitting into four companies (business long-distance, consumer long-distance, wireless and broadband) and introducing it’s new Boundless ad campaign. Is it’s equity any clearer today?

4. hillary clinton – just having inked an $8 million deal to write her White House memoir, her new appointment as U.S. senator from New York and being hailed as one of the political brands with the greatest potential to impact the country.

5. firestone – once one of the most venerable brands in the tire business, was actually fighting for survival given the deaths that were linked to alleged failures of its tires. Some speculated that it wouldn’t survive the year. It did.

6. napster – was responsible (operative word being “was”), for 150 million downloads a month.

7. nokia – was the world’s largest maker of wireless handsets, and for several years “has been focusing on how consumers actually use the devices after realizing that they were moving from pure functionality into design and fashion.” Funny reading this now.

8. onstar – the 600k drivers of GM vehicles who were already subscribers has new increased tenfold to six million.

9. revlon – things were looking bleak in 2001, following a decade-long decline that witnessed some fuzzy and dated imagery around the brand.

10. xfl – remember this upstart league brand (backed by WWF Entertainment) that was going to challenge the dominance of the NFL? probably not, as they played one season on 2001.

To paraphrase Walter Cronkite, “and that’s the way it was” back in 2001.