Home News Olympus cameras might drop Olympus name

Olympus cameras might drop Olympus name

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Mike with the Olympus PEN-F in 2016. Will it be a PEN-branded camera in 2021?

A number of photo sites have reported that the recent sale of the Olympus camera division to investment house Japan Industrial Partners could have a serious effect on the brand’s viability. Future cameras might have to lose the Olympus brand entirely.

Mike with the Olympus PEN-F in 2016. Will it be a PEN-branded camera in 2021?
Mike with the Olympus PEN-F in 2016. Will it be a PEN-branded camera in 2021?

Such a rebranding operation happened in 2014 when JIP took over Sony’s computer division. The Sony brand was dropped, by agreement, while computers continued under the sub-brand of Viao. In that instance, it was no great disaster because Viao was itself well established in the minds of consumers.

One of the colossi of the photographic world, the Olympus brand is now under threat
Heritage: One of the foremost brands in the photographic world is now under threat

OMD, it’s a new brand

If this precedent is again adopted, it could cause havoc for Olympus cameras since the name of the parent company is also the brand. There’s no obvious sub-brand to use. However, 43 Rumors says that from 2021 cameras will be branded as OMD and PEN and lenses will be sold as ZUIKO, a name which has historical connotations and is well recognised.

This solution has obvious flaws. It would seem more logical to adopt OM as the primary brand, with OM-D and OM-PEN acting as product-line sub-brands. Zuiko is fine but, again, OM-Zuiko would be more consistent.

None of these alternatives makes as much sense as retaining the OLYMPUS brand..

Olympus and OM-D, two universally recognised brandings. In future the cameras could simply be OMDs
Olympus and OM-D, two universally recognised brandings. In future the cameras could simply be OMDs

If this rebranding does come about next year, it will be seen by users as a major setback in the fortunes of a once-proud international brand. Let’s hope this rumour isn’t true because to ditch the Olympus name would be sheer carelessness and. I believe it would do great harm to sales prospects.

12 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t get that, as surely they bought the brand – and thus they bought the Olympus camera division, so they make and sell Olympus camera’s. Which have been around forever. or all of my life, so it would be a shame to lose the brand as we know it.

    But then my view of investment companies is they will try to turn a profit, rebuild the sales and then sell the company again for more profit.

    • Or is it like the Sony buyout of Minolta from Konica-Minolta? Olympus corporation remains, just not in the camera business. Sony was able to use it’s own well-known brand for the Minolta cameras and lenses it released, the new company has no such famous name that they own.

      OM would make perfect sense, or perhaps a license agreement for the Olympus name.

  2. There were big and expensive lessons about checking what you want to buy and what you actually bought when Rolls Royce and Bentley were sold.

    In 1998, Vickers decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The leading contender was BMW, who already supplied internal combustion engines and other components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.

    As part of the deal, Volkswagen Group acquired the Crewe factory, plus the rights to the “Spirit of Ecstasy” mascot and the shape of the radiator grille. However, the Rolls-Royce brand name and logo were controlled by aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce plc, and not Rolls-Royce Motors. The aero-engine maker decided to license the Rolls-Royce name and logo to BMW and not to Volkswagen, largely because the aero-engine maker had recently shared joint business ventures with BMW. BMW paid £40m to license the Rolls-Royce name and “RR” logo, a deal that many commentators thought was a bargain for possibly the most valuable property in the deal. Volkswagen Group had the rights to the mascot and grille but lacked rights to the Rolls-Royce name in order to build the cars, likewise BMW had the name but lacked rights to the grille and mascot.

    The motto is always check the contract before you sign it!

    I hope common sense prevailed and Olympus Cameras was sold complete with brand name and history intact. To have not done so would be one of the poorest business decisions of all time.

    • That’s an interesting story. I remember the deal and the Bentley/Rolls split between VW and BMW. Something of a muddle. I knew some of the background from an old friend who worked at BMW and subsequently took a role at Goodwood with the new RR. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens in this case.

  3. I really hope something good comes from this, don’t want to see or hear these JIP peeps play rip,rape,run on this company there is too much unemployment already.

  4. I worked at Leica when they were known as Leitz, then Wild Leitz and finally Leica.
    This caused great consternation particularly to the Survey division. Surveyors are eminently practical people but did not like the change. The survey equipment was Wild and that was that.
    The Leica name was owned by a bunch of financiers, I believe in the Netherlands.
    So every “Leica” product, be it Microscope, theodolite or camera had to pay to be a Leica product.
    I retired and did not follow up on subsequent sales of the companies, but Leica Geosystems (Survey) was floated on the Frankfurt stock exchange. Leica Microsystems (Microscopes) was sold to an American supply house and we all know about the trials and tribulations of Leica camera.
    Andreas Kauffman was the saviour of the name and the product line.
    Philip

    • I seem to remember hearing from Dr K that he had succeeded in acquiring the Leitz name again and that they intended to make use of it in future products. Not seen anything concrete yet.

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