Stepping back in time with the 90’s Perennials

Why some brands stand the test of time

The 1990’s was a decade that brought us tons of gadgets, baggy jeans, alcopops, bandanas and the Gallagher brothers, to name a few – not only was the World Wide Web starting to change our lives, we saw the dawn of a new era in the way we shopped and sourced information with the birth of eBay and Google.

It’s easy to get swallowed up in nostalgia and take a step back in time to an era that was jam packed with truly iconic musicians, movies, TV shows, games, toys, snacks and fashion trends.  But who or what has stood the test of time, evolving through the years and remaining relevant to this day?

Text messages

In 1992, Neil Papworth sent the world’s first ever message.  At the time, he was asked to develop a messaging service for Vodafone. The text message read “Merry Christmas” and was sent to Richard Jarvis, a director at Vodafone, who was enjoying his office Christmas party.  26 years later and SMS has become a lifestyle – according to the CTIA¹, in the U.S. alone, 6 billion SMS messages are sent daily – that’s a whopping 2.27 trillion every year!


Formed in 1996, Chris Martin and his fellow bandmates were an instant hit and with their heart-melting indie music, they quickly turned into the band that everyone worth their salt wanted to collaborate with.  With nearly 70 awards under their belt, they’ve shared the stage with a host of well-known musicians including Beyoncé, U2 and Kylie Minogue.

World Wide Web

It’s hard to think about life before the internet and, the fact that it’s not even 30 years old beggars belief.  1990 was the year that Tim Berners-Lee formally published his proposal and it only took him another year to launch the first ever web page.  In January this year there were a staggering 1.8 billion live websites!


Now, you’ll argue that this brand wasn’t launched in the 90’s – and of course, you’re right!  In fact, its roots trace back to the late 1800’s when it was originally founded to produce handmade hanafuda – Japanese playing cards.  The brand came into its own when it entered the video gaming world and the launch of the Nintendo 64 in 1996 set the brand on a course that is still very much alive and kicking today.  The little boy or girl in us can’t help but feel nostalgic when we think of being embroiled for hours in the adventures with the Super Mario Bros.


Now, we all know how much computers and the way we store things has rapidly changed over the years and yet, IBM has remained a constant throughout.  Take IBM Spectrum Protect – although it may have changed its name a few times along the way, it has been a perennial seller for the past 25 years.  Consistently featured in the Gartner top right magic quadrant, people continue to bet their businesses on the brand.

Classic, perennial brands and products such as these have one thing in common.  Quality!  Of course, a product can evolve throughout the years – maybe a change of name or a different design, but the fundamental concept or premise endures.  You don’t always have to be the latest and greatest to bring value to businesses or even society.  Let’s stop and celebrate these true classics that have stood the test of time and will no doubt continue to dominate for the next 25 years and beyond.

1 Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association