Recently, during the dubious joy of the weekly shop at Tesco, I happened to walk down the cereal aisle. I was struck and shocked by the similarity of the packaging for their own brand corn flakes in comparison to that well known market leader.
Strange, because they are very different but, nevertheless, my take out from having seen the Tesco box was unambiguously influenced by my brand awareness of Kellogg’s. It seemed somehow alluring because of its familiarity. It just goes to demonstrate the value, influence and subliminal draw of a strong brand.
I know this sort of thing can’t be outlawed but where is our moral compass? The fact of the matter is that no such thing exists when it comes to business. It all comes down to copyright law and you just can’t copyright the use of red, white and green for a cereal, no matter how unfair it might seem.
If I was Kellogg’s, I’d be pretty put out. I can really empathise with them because we work tirelessly with our clients, day in, day out, to build iconic, instantly recognisable brands. Being on the front line, we know just how much blood, sweat, tears, thought, time and, last but definitely not least, money goes into it. Only for someone to come along and piggyback on the success of all your hard work and investment. Doesn’t seem right somehow.
Incidentally, we’ve witnessed this scenario first-hand a number of times where work that we’ve done for our clients has been copied by competitors. As a member agency of the IPA, we were able to seek free legal advice on our client’s behalf to help resolve the situation. One of the many benefits that we and our clients enjoy, thanks to our membership.
Despite the dangers of imitation, it certainly doesn’t mean that building a strong brand isn’t worth doing. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery after all. At Factor 3, we love creating and building strong brands. Hopefully the ‘Branding’ section of our website demonstrates that we know a thing or two about it too. We’re always looking to help create and build the next big brand, or give a new lease of life to an established one – successful or otherwise. So, if you have aspirations for your brand to be admired (and maybe even imitated), we’d love to hear from you.