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What does it take for a brand to endure 60 years?

A great product idea, a meaningful positioning, consistently strong marketing spending-and lots and lots of TV. That's what Advertising Age found in examining four of America's major brand icons that have lasted, if not always thrived, since 1945. It's an interesting experiment, as the industry undergoes what we've chronicled in these pages as a revolution from a marketer- to a consumer-controlled universe, to look at how these brands were built and held their place in the consumer consciousness during earlier revolutions in media.

A strikingly clear lesson is that the message more than the medium counted for Buick, Tide, Pepsi and Heinz, and that innovation was key. For Procter & Gamble, new-product news and continual breakthroughs turned Tide into the $2 billion brand it is today.

For Buick the case may have been too little product innovation to match too many promises to consumers over the years.

As for Pepsi, its watershed move was to overturn existing logic and market not the product, but the experience to the consumer, birthing the Pepsi Generation. And Heinz's masterstroke has been reinventing the ketchup package and even turning its labels into media.

There will undoubtedly be unfathomable changes in marketing within the next 60 years. Those who misstep-as Buick has-will struggle to stay relevant. But those that continue on the innovation path may well be around to chronicle this revolution in 2065.

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