Brands Who Failed At Retail

Will These Brands Rest In Peace Or Find New Life In The “Clouds?”

By Staff Writer
In August 16, 2011

Going into 2010, Blockbuster had over 5,000 stores and Borders had over 500 superstores. A likely scenario is that by the end of 2012, neither chain will have a brick & mortar presence. While these two brands failed at retailing, is there any equity left in the names that could be leveraged in a different space?


For my family and I, Blockbuster was part of our movie experience for years. At least one day over a weekend would become “A Blockbuster Night.” The location was convenient and we went together to browse the shelves, picking up a current movie while always on a treasure hunt for something remote but very special. Typically, we would wind up with something the family would enjoy together while also satisfying individual preferences. (At times, the shopping experience was better than the movies.) When I see the name Blockbuster today, I think of my kids living at home and actually agreeing on how to spend a Friday or Saturday evening. In spite of the late fees, I have a personal bond with this brand.


Borders is also one of my favorite brands. The store offered a unique experience with its relaxed atmosphere enhanced by jazz and the smell of fresh coffee. For my wife and I, it was a great place to visit, kind of a sanctuary, whether you had a book in mind or not. For readers it was a feast of curiosity and delight. This brand’s departure feels like losing a friend for me and for many others who are expressing their feelings on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Blockbuster and Borders were hit hard and fast by online purchasing through Netflix and Amazon, respectively. At the same time, both brands were left in the dust at retail by direct competitors, namely Family Video and Barnes & Noble. Their financial demise also came about abruptly with competitors and investors showing little interest in their physical assets. With store closings in progress, all that will soon remain are the brand names themselves. Will the names also disappear like the stores?

For now, at least Blockbuster will live on. The Dish Network Corporation recently purchased the bankrupt video-store chain with more interest in the name than the stores. The plan is to offer Dish customers a streaming service to rival Netflix. That service will be called Blockbuster. The intellectual properties of Borders (name, website, logos, etc.) will be auctioned next month and I am confident that this brand will maintain a relationship with its fans, most likely online.

With all negative press associated with these brands over the past year, they will prevail. Strong, established brands are incredibly durable.

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!