As we talk about in our Planning for the Product Life Cycle tutorial, the maturity stage of the PLC is a tough place to be. At this point in its life, a brand has seen the good times decline to the point where many in the company behind the product believe spending more to support it is not a good idea. Instead, they look to other strategies including trying to get rid of the problem by selling the product to another company that believes it has a better idea for resurrecting it. A second idea is to hold on to the brand but support it with very limited funding. Essentially the owner of the product lets the it fall to the PLC Decline Stage, where it has slim chance of recovering, though it may last there for some time and provide nice income thanks to purchases made by older, brand loyal customers.
However, for some products a third idea exists: try to grow the product again and extend the product life cycle. We note several strategies for extending a product's PLC but the success of these depends on many things, including whether the brand's management has figured out at the right time where the product is in the PLC and has not waited too long to try something new.
As discussed in this New York Times story, a cough drop brand by the name of Smith Brothers is trying to grow its business once again. The product has been around for many years, yet has been neglected by multiple owners. Now a somewhat none traditional owner, a New York hedge fund, is attempting to infuse new life into these cough drops. The story talks about the new owners' plans to improve sales of this product, including spending $2.5 million on advertising. Of course, whether this is too late remains to be seen.
In addition to talking about the Smith Brothers product, the story also lists a number of other once-famous brands that are also considered in the majority stage including once well-known names as Comet, Duncan Hines and Parkay.