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We hope you have your incense, food and joss paper ready, boils and ghouls – the Hungry Ghost Festival is currently upon us. As we approach the middle of the Ghost Month, we are now submerged in the ‘what-was’ more than ever, with our pasts walking among us in the form of spirits.

With the festival falling on a full moon, a new season change and the fall harvest, it is easy to look ahead and thrillingly seek new beginnings. However, the Hungry Ghost Festival is a reminder to pull back and pay our respects to the past; giving tribute to a time that is now just a memory.

Here at The Bullet, we’d like to do the same. What is progress without a lesson? And what is a lesson without past experiences?

Brands come and go, and we’ve all seen it happen. Their partings are occasionally more tragic than others, but ultimately the void that was created due to their loss should be always be acknowledged. Here are some ghost brands that we’d like to pay tribute to:


Ghosts that we yearn for – A&W

A once household name for all, A&W were on the top of their game back; serving up great wholesome meals paired with ice-cold root beer floats and delectable curly fries. It was a place for kids to play and adults to date but now has turned into a run down C-grade fast food joint, that is slowly but surely dying. Filled to the brim with nostalgia, we’ve all had an A&W memory and moment, but reliving it will most probably never happen again. Come back to us A&W, we miss you.


Ghosts that haunt us – No Fear

We were all there in the mid 90s, where baggy shorts were cool and wallets came with chains. One clothing brand that ruled the market was No Fear, the poster boy for the grunge scene, featuring existential slogans or quotes that tout the virtues of extreme sports, with common themes that exude the contempt of social norms and the fear of death. Ironically, the brand died in 2011, when they filed for bankruptcy. Today, however, we still see the remnants of No Fear walk among us, as die hard 90s fans refuse to give it up.


Ghosts that we forgot about – Shakey’s

A pizza restaurant chain that began in 1954 – this was the only place in town where you could depend on for a good slice at an affordable price. The tragedy here occurred when they decided to sell the company to Colorado Milling, then to Hunt International Resources, then again to Inno-Pacific Holdings of Singapore and once more to Jacmar Companies like an unwanted orphan moving to and from foster homes. During these changeovers, brand identity was lost and management got muddled. All of a sudden, they vanished and us Malaysian’s never heard from them again. We didn’t even get to say goodbye.


Ghosts that came back from the dead – Polaroid

Who needs a printer when one quick snap does the trick? Well, I guess not many agreed, when Polaroid went under in 2008 and filed for bankruptcy. But with the help of new licensing agreements and a tonne of celebrity hook-ups as well as this new age that we live in, where the old is cool again – they have triumphantly returned!


So give it a go. Take a look back and see what you can learn from your brand’s experience, from the ones that have come and gone, and the ghosts of what could have been. But also more importantly, look around you. There are many advantages in looking back, but staying in the present can really make brand presence – by knowing your surroundings and always anticipating your next step.

By staying in the now, just might save your brand from the afterlife.

Has your brand been looking back as much as it has been looking forward?

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