National (brand)National logo
National is a brand used by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. to sell home appliances, personal appliances, and industrial appliances and was the first name used by Konosuke Matsushita's electric firm to sell his battery-powered bicycle lamps, hoping that they would be a product used by all of Japan, hence the name "National". It was arguably the first well-known brand of Japanese electronics.
National was formerly the premier brand on most Matsushita products, including audio and video and was often combined as "National Panasonic" after the worldwide success of the Panasonic name.
After 1980 in Europe, and after (1989 in Australia & New Zealand, Matsushita ceased the usage of "National", and sold audiovisual products exclusively under the Panasonic and Technics nameplates. Perhaps due to trademark issues, Matsushita never officially used the National name in the United States, except for early imported products, but rice cookers bearing the National name, imported from Japan, can be found at many ethnic Asian markets in the United States.
National is well-known throughout Asia as a reputable manufacturer of domestic appliances, such as rice cookers and electric fans. In 2004, the "National" brand was gradually phased out in Asia, the last market it was used in, with most products being rebadged under the "Panasonic" brand due to trademark restrictions with other companies worldwide containing "National" in their name and Matsushita's desire to unify their businesses under the Panasonic name for greater recognition.
Due to its historical significance and recognition in Matsushita's native Japan, non-audiovisual Matsushita products (mostly home appliances or White goods) are still branded "National" as of 2008. On January 10, 2008 Matsushita announced that it intends to change the company name to Panasonic Corporation, effective October 1, 2008. Non-audiovisual products currently branded "National" in Japan will be marketed under the Panasonic brand.
National bicycles were imported into the United States under the Panasonic label. The brand was known for producing high quality cycles at a relatively low price, as the result of a very high degree of factory automation and a resultingly low labor force with attendant savings in salaries and benefits. One of their models featured the unusual Shimano front freewheel system.
- In 1960, National launched a tokusatsu series called National Kid, in a clear merchandising effort. The series wasn't popular in its home market, but attained cult status in Brazil.
- In 1976, the Swedish band ABBA shot some ads promoting National. They were broadcast in Australia.
- In the 1980s a promotion was made in Japan for National TV, using the cat "Chatran" also known as "Milo" on the Columbia/Sony Pictures movie release "The Adventures Of Milo & Otis" (Koneko Monogatari). The commercial features some segments of the movie, then shows "Chatran"/"Milo" with a human companion.
- (Japanese) National Electric homepage
- (English) Brand History, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
- (English) The National brand: 1927
- (English) ABBA TV commercials promoting National Brand (From YouTube)
- (English) Background information on the making of the commercials, plus lyrics and voiceovers used
- (Japanese) National Brand TV commercial cross promoting "The Adventures Of Milo & Otis"/The Adventures Of Chatran" from 1986 (From You Tube)
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