No matter how far you go back, there have been brand properties - animals (remember the Post Office ants?), characters (the Man from Del Monte) and phrases ('It's good to talk'). Some are history and, in contrast to the Dulux dog, unlikely to be brought back from the marketing grave.
Valuable properties are tricky. One minute they have given you cut-through, next they have established themselves in the hearts of the great British public. Before you know it, your property becomes a marketing millstone, obscuring your messaging and thwarting innovation.
Management of a brand property is another of marketing's dark arts, part of which has to be recognising that you have a valuable property in the first place.
When it broke, MasterCard's 'Priceless' campaign seemed a winner. Clever and differentiated, it was imbued with a warmth and humility that won over consumers; the 'Priceless' construct quickly became part of the language. It was, for example, a gift to football fans bantering online and on mobiles. Then, having created the magic of a brand property, MasterCard seemed to fall asleep at the wheel.
Shaun Springer, the brand's new head of brand, sponsorship and digital marketing, is looking to create a campaign with greater depth and breadth.
In this ambition, he will be greatly aided by his 'Priceless' property, particularly in social media, where the consumer, rather than the celeb who fronts the ads, is seen as the 'brand ambassador'.
Of course, every ambassador needs the gift of the gab. So MasterCard's linguistic prowess will no doubt come in very handy.