Corporate Eye

The Death of the Hummer Brand

hummerUnless a buyer steps up to the plate very soon, General Motors plans to retire the Hummer brand.  Given the fact that the Hummer brand has been ranked as the brand with the least value by consumers, is anyone really surprised?  The bigger surprise would be seeing this brand rise again.  Instead, sales dropped to just 325 units in December 2009 — down by 85% from December 2008.

The death of the Hummer brand can be partially attributed to poor strategic planning and a lack of basic foresight into consumer behavior and the cyclical nature of not just marketing, but of world history.  Symbols of excess typically lead fleeting lives.  Society embraces them and eventually turns their backs on them.  It’s not a new phenomenon.  Add in the negative perceptions of the Hummer brand related to the environment (those things use A LOT of gas) and struggling economies, and the brand was positioned for failure.  But again, foresight and an acceptance of the fact that the good times could not last forever at the executive level could have made the difference between death and life for the Hummer brand in the long term.

The most interesting question right now is not just what company might be capable of saving the Hummer brand but what company would actually want to save it.  This is a brand whose reputation has been tarnished on many levels.  Could that negative perception be turned around? Is there a white knight out there for Hummer?

What do you think?  Is there still value in the Hummer brand?  Take the poll below and share your opinion. If you can’t view the poll below, you can follow this link to do so.


Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.