Brand Psyche

19 June 2009 – 11:05 am

Having lunch yesterday with a lawyer friend. We touched on the legality of a brand not profiting from the goodwill of another brand.

At the weekend I saw a press advert for cakes, using a clock, cartoon style lettering and garish pastel cake colours. This is very similar to another company’s advertising, also making associations with tea time, but advertising much more heavily, and I think having started their campaign earlier.

Immediately I thought the advertiser was the heavy ubiquitous advertiser we are used to seeing. The campaign has been around for three months or so now. When looking more closely it wasn’t, it was the rival brand, looking very similar.

They were tapping in to my psyche. Definitely. I had a two second confusion window, thinking it was the ubiquitous advertiser. But how can this be proved in court?

Most non-media people would not realise they were being manipulated in this way. Partly because I saw LOCOG lawyer Alex Kelham’s excellent talk at the IPA, I was extra aware to what degree a brand can pursue an infringing advertiser.

These two tea time examples may be a co-incidence, but I am not so sure.

Both could be interpreted as legitimate images and messages. They are associating with tea time, being tea time products. The two adverts do look far too similar to be a co-incidence.

What do you think? Is measuring brand physche an impossibility? Are we taking image and rights too far? Should we relax a little and be less uptight? Do the public care? Do they notice this sub conscious mind-manipulation?

Images will appear shortly.

  1. 2 Responses to “Brand Psyche”

  2. Of course, to steal a phrase from the financial world, “the value of brand goodwill can go down as well as up…” Perhaps someone has done some proper research on this, but after quick discussion round the office here we’re of the general opinion that it is the copy-cat brand that loses out in these situations as the consumer is reminded of the original brand, and often even thinks the ad’ is for the original brand without registering the new one. So if someone if copying your brand messaging it’s flattering and you’re obviously doing something right. In fact it can enhance your own brand. But it’s a different matter if they are a bad brand and this has a negative impact on your own.

    By Ben Hedges on Jun 19, 2009

  3. @Ben, I agree. The new advert reminded me of the older advert, I know the original brand, but struggle to recollect the new ‘pretender’.

    By Xavier on Jun 19, 2009

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