Brand reinvention: Oral B and the new word of mouth

by Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee). The most personal mass-market gadget of all, the toothbrush, is being reinvented at the high and low end of the market.

We all imagine that there can be no gadget that is more personal or intrusive than a cellphone. But move your focus ever so slightly and you come across an even more invasive device – and one that is not usually regarded as a gadget at all: the toothbrush. But ever since the first electric toothbrush was invented by the Swiss in 1954, this household object has become ever more closely associated with gadgetry.

Now, just as phones have given way to smartphones, electric toothbrushes have been taken to a new level, with the “smart toothbrush”. Oral B may not be as cool a brand as Samsung or Apple, and certainly won’t appear in as many headlines, but it also has a shot at revolutionising a routine task.

It has produced a toothbrush that costs more than R1700, which is a huge mouthful in its own right. But then, the Oral B Triumph 5000 is not your common or bathroom toothbrush.

Brand reinvention: Nintendo is about to lurch out of the tomb once more with Wii U GamePad

Nintendo is doing its own zombie act: coming back from the dead with the new Wii U, writes Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee)

Are you prepared for the Zombie apocalypse? It’s a concept that has long been viral on the Internet, inspiring numerous guidebooks on how to prepare for both the day and night of the living dead. You can even explore a version of Google Maps adapted to show the level of likely zombie infestation across the globe, and highlighting resources like pharmacies, hardware stores and police stations, where you would find handy resources to help survive the undead onslaught. Medicine, guns, axes and baseball bats will be high on your shopping list.

Sadly, preparing for the apocalypse only by reading a map is like learning to drive using a mapbook. You also need on-the-job training.

Enter an unlikely ally: Nintendo. It is the old-timer of the gaming console industry, and rapidly falling behind Sony and Microsoft. These global giants have brought the industry back to life, respectively, with a new version of the PlayStation Portable, called the Vita, and an add-on to the Xbox, the Kinect.

Brand reinvention: Kodak gets its next moment

Kodak may be dead as a camera and film company, but it is coming back to life in the “post-capture” world of printing, writes Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee).

The Kodak moment is back. When the company that invented popular photography filed for bankruptcy protection five months ago, it provoked a tut-tut that was heard around the world. The company had been undone by the advent of digital photography – a technology it pioneered, but never managed to turn to its own advantage.

The “portable all-electronic still camera”, invented by Steve Sasson in 1975, was awarded US patent number 4,131,919, but that wasn’t enough to convince Kodak executives. As Sasson would write many years later, they could not understand why people would ever want to view their pictures on a TV.

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