Will These 10 Brands Bite the Dust in 2012?

Will These 10 Brands Bite the Dust in 2012For the past few years, 24/7 Wall St. has published an annual list of brands it says will disappear in the coming year. The list gets tons of airplay on sites like Business Insider, Huffington Post, Forbes, MSNBC, all the usual suspects.

While the site does have a methodology for determining who's on the chopping block, it's more or less a list of troubled companies or brands. All the site's picks have definitely seen better days, but the timing of their demise isn't quite so predictable. For example, Blockbuster was on the list for two consecutive years before it finally bit the dust.

Still, given all that low-hanging fruit, the site's track record has been surprisingly dismal. Of the 10 brands to supposedly disappear in 2010, for example, only three are actually gone - Palm, Sun, and Blockbuster. A few - like Ambac Financial and Borders - are on the ropes while the others - Newsweek, Motorola, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Eastman Kodak, and E*Trade - are stubbornly hanging in there.

In any case, this year's list has some real shockers. And, while I agree with some, I completely disagree with others. Here are the 10 Brands 24/7 Wall St. Says Will Disappear in 2012, including something none of the other sites can provide: irreverent insight and controversial commentary from yours truly:

1. MySpace
Funny they should mention MySpace. I just happened to read Businessweek's The Rise and Inglorious Fall of MySpace the other day. They should have called it How to Screw Up an Internet Company in 5 Easy Steps. I actually think somebody's going to buy MySpace, clean it up, and relaunch it. I mean, the world needs a seedy alternative to Facebook, as long as there are advertisers looking for a somewhat downscale customer base, with all due respect.

Click the Next > button to see the other 9 brands ... Image robynejay via Flickr


Will These 10 Brands Bite the Dust in 20122. Sony Pictures
Sony's a real mess. And while it had no business buying Columbia Tri-Star in the first place, if it divests it now and gives up its grandiose vision of becoming a global media empire, all that's left is a dying consumer electronics company. Strategically, Sony does need an IBM-style turnaround, but the place to start is to get rid of CEO Howard Stringer, find a Lou Gerstner clone, and figure out what kind of company it should be.

3. Soap Opera Digest
A few weeks ago I was devastated to learn that All My Children had been cancelled. O - M - G ! ! ! 24/7 Wall St. cites all kinds of reasons why the soap industry is dying, but I think it missed the big-one: a lethal combination of reality television and DVRs! Why watch a soap when you can drown yourself in endless episodes of Real Housewives 24/7?

4. American Apparel
Could it be, that the the days of those creepy ads of partially nude, underage models and even creepier CEO Dov Charney are numbered? BNET blogger Carol Tice says American Apparel - post bankruptcy and after ditching Charney - still has lots of equity. Who am I to argue?

5. Sears
Hmm ... Sears or Kmart, Kmart or Sears, which horse to ride and which to shoot? I agree that Sears Holdings should dump one and focus on the other, but will it? And, if it does, it's not so much a question of brand equity as it is a question of which brand has less negative baggage? Your guess is as good as mine.

6. Sony Ericsson
When will they learn - joint ventures like this never, ever, work. Never. Ever. Ten years in the booming wireless handset market and this company hasn't done one innovative thing. Not one. There is zero equity in the brand. Pull the plug and put it out of its misery.

    Image courtesy Sony Pictures
Will These 10 Brands Bite the Dust in 20127. Nokia
The lead says, "Nokia is dead." I say, "Um ... no, it isn't." Sure, it's in big trouble, as I explained in Nokia Needs New CEO, New Smartphone Strategy Too. But the company has since hired Stephen Elop as CEO and announced it would dump the age-old Symbian operating system in favor of Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7. Not a great solution, but the only decent option Elop had. Did you know that Nokia's been around for 140 years? Any company that can survive that long and transform itself from a paper mill to the world's leading cell phone maker can survive a little market transition.

8. Kellogg's Corn Pops
Who knew the breakfast cereal market was so huge and hugely profitable? Kellogg's made $2 billion on sales of $12.4 billion last year. Personally, I'm into granola - with bananas and blueberries, thank you very much - but hey, whatever snaps your crackle and pop is okay with me. So Cheerios and Frosted Flakes are tops. Frankly, I don't give a Pop!
9. A&W
The logic behind A&W going away makes sense. Of course it's a nit in the ginormous fast-food market dominated by the likes of Subway, KFC, and McDonald's. But it's been around for nearly 100 years; it's just as likely to hang on for another 10 or 20.

10. Saab
Agreed, but China's got so much money and an unnatural interest in strange car brands that somebody's sure to come along and think it can make something of the niche brand.

Now, here's my prediction for a brand that will disappear in 2012: 24/7 Wall St. According to its own metrics, visitor traffic has fallen by over 30 percent in recent months and now sits at around 2008 levels. Hmm.

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Image courtesy Nokia