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The comeback brands of 2013
by Mark Lennihan / AP

This is not your grandfather's Lincoln Town Car. Ford hopes to reposition the brand with its new Lincoln MKZ model targeting Gen X consumers.

Powerful brands easily stagnate, playing it too safe with a strong product and failing to innovate or keep up with the times. These former icons either fade into relative obscurity or dust themselves off. We’ve seen several flashy comebacks in the last few years: a heritage deodorant line’s revitalized “Old Spice Guy,” the revival of GM’s Chevrolet, and the renewed celebrity of former President Bill Clinton, star of the 2012 campaign trail.

Which elapsed products, struggling companies or forgotten personalities will revive their brands in 2013? Marketing and branding experts cast their votes for the next big comeback stories.

Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln
While the Lincoln Town Car was once a staple of luxury and comfort, it’s become associated with stodginess. “Younger buyers don’t want to buy it,” says marketing expert Taylor. Ford hopes to reposition the brand with its new Lincoln MKZ model targeting Gen X consumers. Every successful comeback campaign starts with product innovation, says Taylor, and so far critics are responding positively. Car and Driver gave it a 4.5 rating on a 5-point scale. Ford is also launching an edgy ad campaign, with one commercial showing an old Town Car in flames and the new model rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Also, comedian Jimmy Fallon is creating a 60-second Super Bowl ad for the model, which he’s crowd-sourcing ideas for on Twitter. “They’re taking big risks,” says Taylor, who predicts they’ll pay off in 2013.
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