So, as unlikely as it might once have seemed, the TSB banking brand is coming back to the UK high street. It’s not a particularly well-loved name, and I got to thinking about discontinued brands I’d like to have seen do the zombie dance in its place.
Five brands I wish would come back
1. Midland Bank
I might be the only person in the world who’s nostalgic for a banking brand, but I loved Midland. Maybe it’s because I’m from the midlands, but I think it’s more likely because of this amazing – and ground-breaking – ad for them in the opening sequence of the incredible Theme Park computer game:
Seriously, this was 1994. Who was advertising inside videogames back then? I’d love to say Midland was obviously a forward-looking company but… they got eaten by HSBC. So I guess not.
2. Gateway computers
Who could resist that ostentatious cow-print logo? The first computer I ever got to choose was a Gateway, and I have a vivid memory of breaking open the giant cow-print box to find what seemed like the most advanced machine ever. I’ve since consulted my teenage diary, only to find that the specs haven’t exactly passed the test of time:
These days, Gateway still exists in the US, owned by Acer and with a more modern (but still cow-based) logo. But it’s a long time since it was seen on these shores.
3. Cover Girl
Another one that still exists in the US, but that’s no use to me. Cover Girl supplied pretty much my entire teenage face, and they were one of the first to bring in digital point-of-sale units. I distinctly remember being sold an eyeshadow duo by a non-touch-screen thing at their stand, that recommended it especially for me based on the fact that I’d pressed a button labelled ‘brown eyes’. My eyes are actually hazel, but they didn’t have that.
I was an easy target.
A fairly obvious (and recent) one, but the other day I was actually stuck for where to buy a DVD on the high street when the tiny branch of HMV didn’t have it. WH Smith had no DVDs, Cex had only the random selection traded in by customers. The man in John Lewis responded to my request for DVDs with “DVD players?”. At this point, I wished for Woolworths. But since I didn’t buy enough pick ‘n’ mix to keep them afloat, they weren’t there.
Woolworths does still exist in the form of a website, but it’s not the same. At all.
This one will only ring a bell with fellow game geeks, but Bullfrog was the brand behind Theme Park and Theme Hospital, two of the best videogames of all time. Unfortunately, Bullfrog was swallowed by the gargantuan EA Games, never to be seen again. Like most of my patients in Theme Hospital.
‘Please do not die in the corridors’
- Opal Fruits, although to be honest, I think Starburst is a better name
- Department store Allders, where I’d buy clothes from Morgan de Toi and shoes from Faith – both also defunct.
Brands nobody misses:
- Northern Rock
- Kwik Save
Brands I didn’t even know had been discontinued:
- Chubb (locks)
Brands I thought had been discontinued but are somehow still going:
- Little Chef
- Maxwell House
- Fornarina (how ANY brand survives making literally the worst ad of all time starring Lindsay Lohan, I don’t know. But they have, apparently)
Let’s hear your most-missed brands, the ones you’d love to see ‘do a Wispa’ – and the ones you’re glad to see the back of. Add them in the comments.