There are a lot of brands out there who have built and are building a history that contains products that have a cult status and are remembered fondly. However, there are few that are as timeless and perennially popular as a Converse Chuck Norris All-Star, a classic Fred Perry polo, Arne Jacobson Ant Chair or Le Creuset pan. Brands have to constantly innovate, move forward and reflect a marketplace that thrives on newness and the opportunities that technological advances allow. They can have success with being playful with their archive and putting into a modern context. The car industry has become expert at these taking classics such as the VW Beetle, The Fiat 500 and phenomenally successful Mini, using the consumer love and iconic status and bringing them up to date.
We constantly see re-issues of classic telephones, radios and watches. They garner column inches but, rarely set the tills off to any great degree. When a re-release is combined with a modern approach to marketing, communities, social media, packaging and the designs are “played with” by good designers then the likes of Lomo and the Lomography community have shown over the past decade and a half, how to build a highly successful brand that to most, is about modern life.
DJ’s, bands and producers have known this for a long time. Remixes and re-edits are part of the armoury of most forms of dance music. It is doubtful if Nile Rogers and Chic could be playing every festival under the sun without the likes of Daft Punk bringing “disco” right up to date. I would like to think that we are doing the same with G Plan Vintage upholstery range. G Plan has a wonderful archive from the 50s, 60s and 70s but, if we had slavishly re-issued some choice pieces we would have excited a few purists and had an initial burst of success, then sales would have tailed off. With this in mind we set about delving into the G Plan archive and eking out the detail, the DNA, the proportions that excited collectors and mid century modern enthusiasts and that could create building blocks for us to build a contemporary use for this DNA.
Sales are proving that we are successful at achieving this. The brand history is allowing consumer recognition without large marketing spend and open doors to media coverage without accompanying and spend. Importantly, it is also appealing to a market that just wants a cool modern sofa for their new home. – Wayne Hemingway