Chain Reactions

Nokia, We Hardly Knew Ye

Those of you who are fans of historical fiction might appreciate the opening paragraph of a story I'm working on. It's not actually historical fiction yet, but by next year it very well could be:

This morning, after eating a bowl of Corn Pops, I logged onto MySpace with my Nokia cellphone to let my friend know about a great sale down at Sears. Later that day I hopped into my Saab and drove over to A&W before taking in a movie produced by Sony Pictures.

Okay, so the plot still needs some work, but according to 24/7 Wall St, all of the brand names I cited above will be obsolete by 2012. In fact, here's the whole list of well-known brands that the 24/7 Wall St analysts believe are on their last legs:

Top Ten Brands that Will Disappear in 2012

1. Sony Pictures
2. A&W Restaurants
3. Saab
4. American Apparel
5. Sears
6. Sony Ericsson
7. Kellogg's Corn Pops
8. MySpace
9. Soap Opera Digest
10. Nokia

I find their analysis a bit wobbly on some of the brands. For instance, I question why A&W is compared to fast food giants like McDonald's and Subway. As strictly a drive-in restaurant it would be more accurate to compare A&W head-to-head with Sonic or the smaller regional drive-ins, most of which are open only six to eight months of the year.

It's also hard to see the Nokia brand fading away that quickly, even if the company itself is acquired. It is somewhat alarming, though, that the company just filed to be delisted from the Frankfurt stock exchange due to decreased trading volumes.

I can't say I'm very surprised to see Corn Pops make the list; what surprises me more is that Kellogg's is still making that cereal. Even as a kid, when I ate every sugar-filled brand of cereal on the market, Corn Pops was always one of my last choices. While the 24/7 Wall St analysts seem to think Corn Pops was doomed because of its high sugar content, I think there's a very different reason why the brand is in such decline: the cereal never seemed to have enough sugar. Of course, it's been quite a long while since I last had a bowl, but as kid, I remember the best cereals gave you an extra bonus after you'd eaten all of it: a bowl full of flavored milk. Cocoa Krispies were the best, since the leftover milk was better than the chocolate milk you'd get from a spoonful of Nestle Quick. And the sort-of pinkish milk left behind by Froot Loops was pretty good, too. But Corn Pops pretty much left the milk tasting like, well, milk. So I figure it's the kids, not the moms, who are opting out of Corn Pops.

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