Best Brand Bouncebacks

Best Brand Bouncebacks

By the Team at Matte Black


Once upon a time, the team at Matte Black sat down together and brainstormed for the Victory Issue.

The question at hand: What did we want to collaborate on? 


Thoughts were flying everywhere. It was like an open bar of colorful ideas. An ice luge of creativity, straight down the hatch, if you will.


We talked about past Olympians and their iconic spots on cereal boxes. We discussed the Queer Eye cast and their undeniable representations of victory. We pondered over pitching y'all the best Nascar victory laps ever recorded of all time. We even suggested tracking down all of the past HQ Trivia winners and asking them what their victories felt like (stay tuned. I'm actually down to pull this together at some point). At one bright moment, we landed on creating our own victory playlist (if you haven't come across it yet, listen to it here while you are reading).


So, how did we select a winner amongst all of these genius ideas? We had to step back - away from our bottomless aha-s - and think about what it truly means to be "a victor."


To us, a victor is not someone who simply "wins" or defeat the bad guys. It's someone that doesn't give up. Life's no cake walk, and we respect those who have the courage to take risks... and come back with a vengeance. We admire those who've patched up their knees after a gnarly bail, and gotten back up on their feet. Those who decided not to call it quits. Because of their strife, today, we still have them around... and we are grateful. 


Read below to become aware of some of the big names that saved themselves from falling off the edge. Keep this list in your back pocket should you ever face your own business hiccup (and if you're living life to the fullest, you most likely will).


We're here, saying you can do it. We back you, brave victors.


Anyway - onward. Cheers to these guys below: 



Founded in 1994, DC Shoes was founded by Ken Block and Damon way. The brand was a staple in skateboarding and street culture in the mid-90’s to early 00’s. Taking a nod from their past, DC Shoes is looking forward to re-introducing the DC brand to a new generation of consumers––starting with a complete pivot in merchandise design, art direction, and exciting collaboration partnerships (shh!). In their brand refresh, DC is reconnecting with its heritage in street and skate culture that promotes individuality through different lenses in storytelling. They will be doing this as they partner up up with various influencer profiles and artist collaborators. Stay tuned!


- Jeanne Le, Global Dir. of Brand Marketing at DC Shoes

Photo via DC Shoes

Photo via DC Shoes

Image via  Screen Rant

Image via Screen Rant


Marvel? Really? Yes. We almost didn’t get a trip to Wakanda on the big screen. Let’s slow clap for this comeback. Throughout ‘60s to ‘80s, Marvel saw growing success through their well known comics such as Fantastic Four and The Amazing Spider-Man. They peaked during the ‘90s after solidifying some licensing deals that permitted them to bring some of Marvel’s characters into films. However, they went about it too aggressively - trying to go too big, too fast - and had to file for bankruptcy. Their efforts to expand their business too quickly in the film realm made their stock value collapse from $35.75 to $2.375 in just three short years.

Instead of putting away their markers and cameras, Marvel decided started its own studio. Guess what? This ambitious risk proved to be victorious. Marvel has stayed relevant all these years by telling authentic stories, and focusing on what their customers wanted. Now, Marvel regularly creates films that make money hand-over-fist. 



Everyone remembers where they were when they heard Twinkies were going off the shelves. Even if you didn’t indulge in them, for some reason this brand collapse hit home for us all. For eight long and stressful months, Americans were flummoxed by the Hostess Brand's bankruptcy and subsequent pulling from all local 7/11 shelves. However, not all hope was lost for this iconic brand - they came back. Billionaire food investor C. Dean Metropoulos (whose son recently purchased the Playboy Mansion - schwing!) decided to be a hero to us all by buying the brand for his private equity firm, Apollo Global Management. While there was no master marketing plan in place for its “re-launch,” the new ownership team quickly whipped those cream filled sponge cakes back into supermarkets and gas stations nationwide on July 15, 2013.

The day the sun came out again.

Photo via  BMStores

Photo via BMStores

Photo via @joinreel on Instagram

Photo via @joinreel on Instagram


We can't have this list without adding in Apple. Looking at who they are today, it's simply wild to think that Apple nearly went under 20 years ago. They were quickly losing $1 billion a year. Tragic, really. Who was the victor in this story? The legend himself, Steve Jobs. Some details on how Jobs whipped Apple back into shape? First and foremost, we thank his friendly handshake with Bill Gates - founder of Microsoft. This victor story required bold moves. The Apple x Microsoft merger was revealed at the 97’ Macworld Expo. Jobs explained, “[i]f we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.”  The lesson in this? Don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions to get your company back on track - cutting costly projects and aligning with a competitor was certainly controversial at the time, but because he put his ego in the back seat (…right?) we now have the hottest tech products and platforms of all time. 



Chipotle’s recent E. coli incident seems like a small hiccup compared to that of Jack in the Box’s. In 1993, when Jack in the Box faced an E. coli outbreak, about 700 customers were sickened... which included 4 deaths. Analysts weren’t sure if the company would be able to recover. Now we know that the restaurant chain has recovered, but, they did not prevail before facing multiple lawsuits, threats, and accusations of being "baby killers." At its worst, their comparable sales fell 22%. Jack in the Box put in great efforts to regain trust by offering to cover the medical expenses of victims, hiring a credible food-safety experts, and making a generous contribution to help find a cure for the E. coli infection. Today, the company is thriving, an the incident is long forgotten. Victorious, indeed.



Photo via  Hatch

Photo via Hatch

Photo via  Brand New Retro

Photo via Brand New Retro


Old Spice wasn’t always the suave brand we know and love today. Before Old Spice was associated with “Smell Like a Man, Man,” the red stick was once associated with your great grandfather’s bathroom cabinet. Decades after its 1938 founding, Old Spice was sold to Procter & Gamble in 1990 - with slumping profits. What was their branding turnaround? Their 2010 ad campaign - which quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Not only did it appeal to their core target demographic of males, but also allowed the brand to appeal to a female audience (think: hunky, topless man on horse). This come-back ad generated more views than President Obama’s victory speech within its first 24 hours, and more than doubled the brand’s sales that year. Old Spice has continued to ride the wave by creating their very own video series on Youtube and maintaining an engaged relationship with its audience. 





Moleskine's notebooks go way back. One of their biggest claims to fame is that they have been used by legendary creatives, such as Hemingway and Picasso. When Moleskin’s manufacturer passed, his heirs sold the business, leading one of the stationary shop owners to declare, “Le vrai moleskine n’est plus.” The true moleskin is no more. Their operations ceased in the mid 1980s, until an Italian manufacturer brought them back to life a decade later. Another decade later, the manufacturer couldn’t handle the international demand and Moleskin was sold to a larger company. In 2016, their sales stood at $156 million, with 14.4% improvement at constant exchange rates. Today, Moleskin is seen as indispensable to creativity. By appealing to the legendary status of the notebooks, they are coveted and beloved by designers, writers, and artists alike.

Photo via  LA Times

Photo via LA Times

Photo by  Gadget Flow

Photo by Gadget Flow





With a rush of nostalgia, Polaroids are no longer considered history, as they have been favored in recent times. But the heritage brand has seen its fair share of its ups and downs throughout its 80-year history. The original Polaroid corporation was founded in 1937 by Edwin Land, a scientist and an inventor who received 533 different U.S. patents in his life, second only to Edison. During the beginning of Polaroid’s history, it released waves of products, and the company was the first to produce instant cameras that made it possible for a picture to be taken and developed in 60 seconds or less. As it spread, it was a powerful force of innovation. But with Land’s death, the company suffered a long decline, and eventually went bankrupt in 2000s. However, Polaroid wasn’t dead yet; with a five year agreement in 2009 with Summit Global Group, they worked together and produced new photography products. Today, Polaroid is walking a line between nostalgia play and investment in tech. They appeal by attempting to bridge physical photo printing of yesteryear and instant social media sharing. Timeless, really.