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 The line was withdrawn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.
At Last - A New Lladró Book!
The Lladró Guide; A Collector's Reference to Retired Porcelain Figurines in Lladró Brands
My most recent Lladró book has revised and expanded content and
remains the only book in print on this topic that isn't just a catalog. Covers all Lladró and
Lladró-affiliated brands (regular collection, NAO, Zaphir, Golden Memories,
Hispania, Rosal, and Tang) and tells how to distinguish them from imitations and counterfeits.
Revised and expanded content includes
many new photos and a new chapter on future directions for collectors and the company now that it has
passed from family hands. The book is in hard cover, which eliminates
that annoying curl-up that happens with paperback books.You can order the book directly from the publisher, Schiffer Books,
or from your favorite bookstore using the ISBN 13 number 978-0764358395.
Warning: If you're looking for a catalog
of every retired figurine Lladró ever made, this is not the book for you. If you're looking for beautiful, full-color photos of
representative models and more in-depth and well-researched
information about Lladró and its history and production than you can get in thumbnail photos with captions,
this book is what you're looking for.
Retail Price in Hardcover: $45