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Copycat Marketing


This article in Drinks Busines reveals what many must have seen in the last couple of years, own brand wines that look remarkably like established ones.

When Sainsburys put there Camino del Angel next to Concho y Toro’s - Casillero del Diablo range on the shelves I thought there will be a court case coming soon, after all big brands have no compunction when squashing sole traders who have the same name by birthright, but it hasn’t happened and the old adage give them an inch and they will take a mile seems to be coming to fruition.
The wine on the left in the image below I really thought was a cheaper line from Villa Maria, the power of the supermarkets in this case has over reached itself, this is getting near to counterfeit fraud, though of course they will have a watertight legal definition of what they are doing.



more like copy crap marketing…


Anyone want a genuine fake Rolex? Anyone??



Lazy and possibly ultimately counterproductive if they get peoples backs up.


I know someone who bought one of those fake Rolexes when in Kuala Lumpur, and inadvisedly took it into the local jewellers when the battery ran out (a bit of a giveaway in its own right). By his telling, he was lucky to get out of there on foot rather than in a Black Maria.

A certain Champagne house has a reputation for pursuing people who use yellow labels of the same or similar colour on the Pantone scale.


Rife not just in the wine industry,. A trip down the aisles in Aldi or Lidl reveals a myriad of packaging which to my eyes is pretty close to fraud.


Is this really a problem? Surely we all know that either you take the trouble to learn something about the producers and the labelling rules for areas you want to buy or you choose not to specialise in wine and just learn the 2-3 labels you like. In the second category: if you don’t know enough to recognise imitations, you will be cheated on more expensive things than wine (own label appliances…). In the first category, there is lots of traditional potential confusion for the uninitiated in the way village labels work in Burgundy, in Bordeaux chateaux with names which ‘happen’ to be close to better known ones, grosslagen…

Some imitation labels, of course are fun (Goats do Roam…).

The supermarket similar names seem not so much intended to deceive as to be trying to indicate what product they are a substitute for, so if you like Campo Viejo, you can try the one in the picture. If you don’t like the substitute, you will go back to the real thing, just as you will do if you try the own label corn flakes and decide they aren’t as good. Without some such signal, it would just be an unknown red wine which could be light/heavy/sweet/dry. We all know how difficult it is to describe a wine’s characteristics in words, so implying that it is like something else seems entirely sensible.


The question isn’t whether it is likely to take in the educated specialist, of which you are undoubtedly an example @SPmember, as would be all of us here (probably). It is really about whether the general get-up of these examples counts as “Passing Off”. That’s a thing in law and will depend on any extent to which the producer of the genuine thing has suffered some diminution in either trade or reputation, amongst other things no doubt.

People are definitely taken in by these things from time to time, as I know someone who was.

I don’t know if there exists any dividing line between a get-up that is trying to signal “this is that sort of thing” and one that actually comes so close as to confuse a reasonable man on the Clapham Omnibus. You would need advice from a legal specialist on that one.


Not totally, if two items apparently the same are next to each other on a shelf and the own label is a cheaper price, “Mr Average” will go for the latter believing there is no or little difference, for the likes of us that should not apply, but we are a small proportion of the buying public, and you can’t really equate a thousand different wines on show or whatever with a packet of cornflakes when there are only two, the branded and the own brand on show and I haven’t yet seen a packet of cornflakes that Kirrogs or similar.

The Villa Maria example fooled me on sight, I never picked up a bottle to buy or examine but they are very similar in all respects and would be assumed to be from the same producer, it doesn’t really matter either that they may be similar and the buyer may switch after purchasing, the supermarket has achieved what it wants, a sale and the chance the buyer will stick with the cheaper option and the brand producer loses and has lost a sale to copy cat marketing through no fault of its own, so it is a problem for them.


There was a radio 4 programme I half heard recently on this topic - about a small scale meat producer (sausages?) who had their packaging design ripped off by one of the budget supermarkets. The programme covered how supermarkets rely on the fact that it is very expensive to fight a legal case with them - and if you lose as a small producer you may go bankrupt, so most don’t take the risk.

Another (of many) examples of supermarkets acting as bullies… and getting away with it because they are too powerful for even politicians to be brave enough to stand up to?

(Of course, it doesn’t work this way when small brands attempt to do anything in the same area as the big ones - look what happens to any company that makes anything even vaguely like lego…)


If the buyer sticks with the cheaper, what is wrong with that? If the buyer doesn’t perceive a difference, then it is right to buy the cheaper. I buy some own label products and, after experimenting, don’t buy others: don’t you? The only own labels which I avoid are those for wines (yes, I also avoid Society and Exhibition unless I have tasted them) partly because I am interested in the producers, regions, etc., and don’t want these simplified or hidden for me, and partly because I don’t want retailers to replace the individual styles of the producers. I don’t feel this way about corn flakes or detergent, so I buy the cheapest satisfactory product.

And don’t forget: in wines and everything else, the same producer is probably producing both branded and unbranded.


These are not own label products as such. own label products such as the WS own, Tesco and all the other supermarkets are all clearly marked as such, either with Finest etc caps and stickers plus the producer on the front or as with the WS or Waitrose who have a distinct label across the range, so there is no mistaking of what they are.
What we are talking about and the article in the Drinks Business is the sudden appearance of knock off labels and in the two I have looked at they are no way by the same brand producer, that is what we are talking about not personal preference’s , I’ll leave it there.


I often have fun checking the Aldi/Lidl aisles to try and work out which brand they are trying to rip off, its quite a fun game :smiley:


Oh look, a world-famous chocolate biscuit!


Wait a minute...



It’s a Neo-Classical interpretation of an old favourite! :wink: