Disney Revive The Famous Five

Another example of breathing back life into old brand properties. This time its ‘The Famous Five’, originally a series of kids’ books written by Enid Blyton 66 years ago. That’s right, 66 years and still going strong! The Famous Five in question is a group of kids, all very polite and well-to-do, who get involved in solving mysteries that involve lots of good, healthy outdoor activity.

The Times reports that Disney are reviving the characters and their stories in a series of new books and a TV series for the Disney Channel. You can see a clip here.

This follows previous posts on the trend of reviving long-established and well-loved media properties that covered Delia Smith and James Bond.

Interesting points I took out from this:

1. Good stories are rare:

Good stories, whether on films, book or brands, are really hard to create. That’s why they should be treasured and given tender, loving care to keep them fresh and relevant. On brands, this means the fundamental brand proposition, but also an effective communication campaign. The best of these can run for years and even decades if well managed, as shown by Absolut (1400 executions and counting) and Stella Artois.

2. Remember and refresh what made you famous
As we saw in the post on brand Bond, the challenge is striking the right balance between change and consistency. What to keep, and what to add or update. For the Famous Five:

– Kept:
. The 5 characters: 2 boys, 2 girls and Timmy the dog
. Outdoor adventures, bring down the bad guys
. Kids being smart and resourceful

– Updated:
. Literally, these are the sons and daughters of the original characters
. More high-tech: laptops and mobiles are key tools
. More sassy and cool


3. The power of nostalgia
One of the advantages of reviving old brand properties for kids is of course tapping into the nostalgia of their parents. In this case, The Times reports that adults in the UK voted the Famous Five as their all-time favourite read in a 2007 poll by the National Literacy Trust and

So, perhaps its time to look back in the vaults of your company and see what hidden treasure you can find, whether it be brands, product ideas or communication campaigns waiting for the Famous Five treatment.