Marketing lessons from beyond the grave.

By Luke Sklar and Amber Hudson

We have dabbled in sex, swearing and religion. That leaves us with the last great taboo for marketers: death. A number of notable celebs left us in 2011, leaving an indelible mark on the world through their brand. And during their time on this planet, they have each taught us important lessons. We’ve commented on some but left some blank-care to fill them in? Any one we’ve missed? Lest anyone start feeling queasy about where we’re headed, there is no disrespect to the dead intended.

Here is a look at the good, the bad and the ugly:

Kim Jong-Il: Buckley’s said it tastes terrible but it works. Like Buckley’s, KJI was so weird looking, it worked: no one could argue that he was one helluva dictator.

Christopher Hitchins

Joe Frazier: He was the looser foil for Muhammed Ali; the K-Mart of boxing to Ali’s Target. It’s sad really, how it all played out. Ali built his brand on Frazier’s back and as a result Frazier left the world angry and full of blame because he got beat up to make Ali look good. Don’t be Joe Frazier (or Labatt Blue, Kodak or Blockbuster) and let your competition succeed thanks to your shortcomings.

Jeff Conaway

Osama Bin Laden: Okay, if you’re going to be the devil personified, drop the remote, get out there and live your brand! Don’t be sad-sack Joe Six-pack, live up to your promise as the Supreme Doer of Evil.

Andy Rooney

Jack Lalanne

Elizabeth Taylor: How do you get 5 decades of fascination from your brand? There’s the train wreck strategy or there’s the path to being true to your brand, consistently delivering the goods, and being more than just famous.

Amy Winehouse: In a past blog we learned through her sad story that “your brand needs to be the eternal optimist. Be real, tell the truth, but be positive. Brands that remind you of bad news – bah, we don’t believe in ‘em!”

Betty Ford

Clarence Clemons

Jack Kevorkian: Okay, how’s this for irony. His would have been a tidier brand story, tied up in a neat little bow, if he chose to end his own life himself. You need to live and die by your own beliefs.

Oh yeah, and Steve Jobs. Frankly he’s been done to death (sorry). Check out this blog for lessons from Apple.