What Do Studebaker And Geocities Have In Common? No One Remembers Them

Experts imagine future prospects for two once-prosperous brands

Our Panel

REBOOT CEO
Mark Thomann, CEO of River West Brands

BRAND CONSULTANT
Josh Feldmeth, CEO of Interbrand New York

AD MAN
Huw Griffith, CEO of M&C Saatchi North America

Studebaker | Illustration by David Cowles

Studebaker

Founded in 1852, it began making gasoline cars in 1904 and ceased production in 1966.

Griffith
"It has a memorable name but wasn't a memorable car, so you're free to go in a totally new direction—like making an electric car. The iconic name could give an early-stage car company a much-needed marketing boost. People think Studebaker is a piece of history and might not clamor for its return. But they'd certainly be intrigued to see it again."

Feldmeth
"It doesn't have to be a car company. Studebaker is about classic style, and where do I need more classic style? Maybe with my luggage and travel accessories. The closer you get to transportation, the more relevant the Edsel. So you'd have to work hard to convince people it can be strong again.

Thomann
"People buy cars that project the image they want, but millions of people are driving the same car. So offer one premium product that harks back to the golden era of driving: a handmade, made-to-order 1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner, with all-new engineering. It's luxury and style. We look to romanticize the '50s, the American diner, James Dean, mobility, and freedom on the road."

Geocities | Illustration by David Cowles

Geocities

In 1994, it was one of the first free sites to build and host a website. Discontinued by Yahoo in 2009.

Griffith
"There are some brands that are better off dead, and this is one of them. Sure, it may not have many negatives, but it doesn't have many positives either. And the name isn't strong enough to build on. It's time to let this one go."

Feldmeth
"There are brands that people love and brands that just help people do things. Geocities was the latter, and its original function is outdated. So much of what we're doing now is about checking in—the intersection of place and community. But there's opportunity: Facebook and Foursquare are broad, not focused, and Geocities originally organized websites by interests. So it could be a niche site, like one that catalogs craft beers across the country."

Thomann
"The original Geocities 'cities' weren't geographic. But now, they could take on Yelp and Craigslist and become a comprehensive guide to every city in America. Businesses would have listings, but there would also be event guides, concert reviews, a real insider's view. Then again, Geocities was relevant when far fewer people used the web. Would most of today's Internet users even know the name?"

Illustration by David Cowles

Next in Reboot Nation: How Much Will It Cost To Revive National Premium Beer?

Add New Comment

2 Comments

  • Bread Krumm

    As the owner of a 1951 Studebaker R2 pickup I drive daily I can tell you "Studebaker" is a symbol of American pride and ingenuity. It's a shame the tech driven world can't create and provide consumers with ideas and products that will last 60 years. That being said, Studebaker's demise is also proof they couldn't evolve fast enough to keep up with Ford and Chevy's technology. Adapt or be forgotten.

  • Couille De Gnou

    I totally remember both! The Studebaker museum in South Bend, IN is fantastic. No memorable cars? Really? How old is this Huw Griffith character? Larks and Hawks are emblematic... The Commanders / Presidents and Dictators are everything their name would suggest. Also, they have produced an electric car in the early 20th century. Studebaker was really something.
    Also for a "cool story bro", I had a Geocities account listed in Arcade and another one about a French rap group which ended up in Enchanted Forest for some reason. Whenever I see those silly bottom strips on modern website "networks" I have a tinge of nostalgia for that ugly top bar in Geocities.