Brand Name Necrophilia

There’s a really weird situation with brand names, especially in consumer electronics, that really kinda drives me nuts.

So we had a lot of big companies in the electronics industry… to name a few, Curtis-Mathes, Westinghouse, Memorex, Magnavox, and even Commodore, which ceased to be over the years. Yet, you can buy products that are supposedly made by them today. Said products are complete and unfettered Chinese lowest bidder garbage. I call the situation “brand name necrophilia”.

What happened?

Crappy Funai VCR guts
Crappy Funai VCR guts

The problem is, their brand names were taken as more valuable than the companies. When those companies went bankrupt, or otherwise ceased operation, their brand names were sold to a licensing company that specializes in renting them out to an importer or retailer to have them stamped on whatever junk they’re bringing in, in hopes that the brand name recognition will fool consumers into thinking the product is actually designed, manufactured, and supported by a well established company.

You couldn’t be more wrong, sorry! That Westinghouse TV is nothing like the set you bought from them in the 70s. Enjoy the fact that it will take 3 seconds to respond to the push of ANY button on the remote and will fracture the screen if you as much as breathe on the bezel.

Good examples of this happening in the past include the Salton / Russel Hobbs corporation, now part of Spectrum Brands; the Westinghouse brand which seems to universally appear on the worst electronics imaginable, Sylvania, Emerson Radio, and quite a few others.

Funai Corporation was originally the manufacturer on many of these junkers, but in recent years they’ve lost traction since a retailer can just shop around themselves for the lowest prices on random Chinese manufacturing.

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