I'm dating myself, but I loved Atari when I was a kid. Great games; great logo; once great brand. Later in life, like most college kids, I also ate breakfast at absurd times at various Denny's restaurants. Mediocre food; mediocre logo; mediocre brand (always open). As a result, I now associate these brands with different eras of my formative years. A couple weeks ago, these two brands announced a joint advertising campaign. The two companies promise such "remixes" of Asteroids, Centipede and Breakout as "Hashteroids," "Centipup" and "Take-Out." The question remains whether this move is simply a side effect of Denny's move to serve alcohol that it announced earlier this year?
Don't get me wrong, co-branding can also be a powerful thing. We all remember Michael Jordan and Nike. Think Coca-Cola and McDonalds. Or even Caterpillar and Jenga. When done properly, two great brands unite to generate cash (cash being the physical manifestation of trademark goodwill). The combination of Denny's and Atari, though, only conjures images of greasy cell phones.
NOTE: These remixed ATARI games are optimized for certain co-branded (and actually produced, briefly) hardware:
ACER + FERRARI LAPTOP
DOLCE & GABANNA + MOTOROLA PHONE
Justin McNaughton is an IP lawyer in Stites & Harbison's Nashville office.