Montgomery Ward Is Back. Or Is It?

Here’s an issue that branding gurus don’t address all that often: Brand names, ones with long histories, that simply get bought or licensed and used by unrelated companies.
The AP reports on a new iteration of the Montgomery Ward brand:

Five years after Montgomery Ward went out of business, its brand name has been revived on the Internet and there’s even a 21st-century version of the Wards holiday catalog that was standard fare in American households for decades at this time of year.
But Direct Marketing Services Inc., the catalog marketer that acquired the Wards name out of bankruptcy in 2004, insists it is faithfully carrying on a legacy that dates to 1872 when Aaron Montgomery Ward established the first mail-order business.
“People are always open to believing that however wayward one got, even for a retailer, given proper management you can go back on the right track,” said George Rosenbaum, chairman of Leo J. Shapiro and Associates, a Chicago-based retail consulting firm. “Wards was a good enough name, so there’s probably a good amount of hope or willingness to believe that they’ve come back.”

Have you run across any products that are branded with names you thought were long out of business?

About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.