PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Even brands with a solid core of loyalists let their eyes wander.Even when you're older and more established, there's something about that younger demographic and its cache of cool that makes you want to shed your company's retro logo, spruce up its packaging, do some social media promotion and get the old buzz machine cranking again. Who knows, maybe you'll make some best-of lists, develop an ironic following among hipsters and make a cameo in Girls or a Duplass brothers film. At worst, maybe you'll just shed those lame, dusty old consumers who've supported you so faithfully throughout the years. Maybe they built you into the behemoth you are today, but they're making you feel lame by association and really putting a damper on that whole new image you're trying to cultivate for yourself. Coca-Cola's ( KO) introduction of New Coke in 1985 and its subsequent reversal and re-release of the original formula as Coca-Cola Classic just three months later is the unquestioned standard for how ditching your original fan base can go wrong, but there are also a handful out there who turned their back on their biggest fans and took it to the next level successfully. We surveyed the retail landscape and found just five examples of companies who forsook their original followings for a shot at something bigger. Here's how it turned out:
"It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud, views the 'hip-hop' culture as 'unwelcome attention.' I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands, including the 40/40 Club, nor in my personal life."Cristal didn't just turn on its loving audience, it spat on it and insulted it so badly that hip-hop's flagbearer basically banished it from the kingdom. When writing about it four years later in his book Decoded, Jay-Z posited that Cristal trapped itself in the belief that its previously obscure luxury brand was elevating the hip-hop community, when perhaps the opposite was true. "With language, rappers have raided the dictionary and written in new entries to every definition -- words with one or two meanings now have 12. The same thing happens with brands -- Cristal meant one thing, but hip-hop gave its definition some new entries. The same goes for other brands: Timberland and Courvoisier, Versace and Maybach. We gave those brands a narrative, which is one of the reasons anyone buys anything: not just to own a product, but to become part of a story." -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.