As new research by consumer group Which? finds that UK shoppers are annoyed by imitation products, Solopress ask if you’ve ever been misled by copycat packaging?
Copycat packaging has been a growing phenomenon with all the leading British supermarkets and high-street stores in recent years. Maybe you’ve spotted, or even been fooled by, this sneaky marketing technique already. It’s where retailers ‘borrow’ the easily recognisable packaging from big brand products – be it the overall design, fonts, colouring, wording, shape or size – for their (cheaper) own-label goods. Everything from McVitie’s Digestives and Radox bath gel to Lurpak butter and Monster Munch crisps have been mimicked by ‘brandjackers’ offering cheaper alternatives that look identical to your favourite brands – at first glance.
It’s a parasitic business practice that’s paying off. Every penny counts these days, as cash-strapped UK consumers try to balance their weekly budget against rising food prices. Let’s face it, Aldi have even run a TV advertising campaign using this very concept over the past 12 months.
Aldi. Like brands. Only cheaper.
Why is this a problem?
According to today’s Which? survey, shoppers are being confused by this increasingly sophisticated copycat packaging, and then going on to buy the supermarket versions by mistake. Moreover, of the fifth of Which? members who revealed they had experienced this problem, 30% felt misled and 38% were actually annoyed.
Preventing copycat packaging is one of the campaigns set up by the Alliance For Intellectual Property pressure group. “Copycat packaging adopts distinctive features of familiar branded goods in order to mislead the consumer,” explains the AFIP. “The copycat incurs none of the costs of investment that the brand has spent over years to build its reputation.”
It’s an issue that’s unlikely to go away until the lawyers for both sides have battled it out in the UK and European courts. In the meantime, here’s a bit of sagely shopping advice that you can always trust: buyer beware!
Could you quickly spot the difference between these five lookalike products as you walk down the supermarket aisle?
Lurpak vs. Aldi Norpak butter
Herbal Essences vs. Boots Fruit Essence shampoo
Johnson’s Baby Softwash vs. Morrisons Baby body wash
Pimms vs. Jeeves (sold in Tesco and Lidl)
McVitie’s Digestives vs. Tower Gate chocolate digestives
Image Sources: Which?