GM's Symbiotic Relationship with the NAO Brand
It's fascinating that production of the NAO brand was suspended during GM production, and the original intent may have been
that GM would become a replacement brand for NAO, whose unquestionable
similarity to the regular Lladró brand seems always to have been a
marketing nightmare for the Lladró company. First year GM models were taken right out of the
NAO collection, where they had been produced as early as 1989. By the end of
1994, when GM was finally taken off the respirator, its first year models were
folded back into the NAO collection. Several of these are still in retail
production, testifying to the enduring popularity of the models themselves
when presented in a form that consumers can recognize as Lladró. (See
the table link below for NAO models made as Golden Memories.)
This charming miss is GM # 33013, "None for You," one of the first year GM models that
is still in production as a NAO, #, "Puppy's Birthday." It's easy to see
why the model remains popular.
It's my belief that one of the reasons the first year GM figurines never
caught on among Lladró-product collectors was that there was nothing
in the mark, other than the then
little-understood DAISA copyright notice, to identify GM as a Lladró
product. Even though Lladró has always made matte (unglazed) models,
people were still focused on the more familiar glaze as characteristic
of Lladró. The very distinctive unglazed finish and the deep pastels of
the first year line weren't such that people would immediately think
when they looked at them. This was also during the era when Lladró company marketing
literature was downplaying the very existence of alternative brands within the
company. Because the GM brand wasn't fully developed conceptually, it
would have needed an overt connection to its parent for it to be successfully
marketed, and no such connection was evident to retail consumers.
One of the very few animal models made in GM was # 3305,
"Playful Bunnies." The model was also made as NAO # 1081, "Bunny Surpise,"
retired in that brand in 2001. (Photo by the author from her own collection.)
The phrase "From the Lladró Family of Products" was added to the mark
by the second or third year, but, in the final analysis, this attribution was too little too late to
resuscitate buyer interest in this unlucky brand. The line was withdrawn
from production in 1994. First year GM models were nearly all recycled in
the NAO brand, while second and third year models were deep-sixed entirely.
Today, the value of GM-marked models among Lladró
collectors is pretty much as curiosity pieces. (I even have a few in my
Click on the "Next Page" link below to see a table of the first year GM models
with their respective NAO counterparts. The listings are each and all catalog-linked.
A Collector's Book of Retired Lladró
by Peggy Whiteneck
Old Line Publishing, LLC
Ever since its founding in the 1950s and its subsequent, stellar rise to global prominence,
collectors have been fascinated with the singular modeling and attention to detail in
Lladró Spanish porcelain figurines. Eventually, collectors discovered that Lladró
wasn't just one brand, but several. At the same time, other companies began to sprout up all
over Spain, particularly around Lladró's own region in Valencia, working
"in the Lladró style" and hoping to catch a ride on the tailwinds of its popularity.
This book is written to acquaint readers with retired figurines in all the Lladró and
Lladró-affiliated brands and to help distinguish them from the work of other Spanish
companies. The book features substantive chapters on the Lladró "core brand,"
NAO by Lladró, Zaphir, Golden Memories, Rosal, and Hispania, complete with
representative photos for each brand.
Retail Price: $29.95
S & H: $5.95
at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com
or through any bookseller by ISBN order #13: 978-0-9845704-6-1.