As a follow-up to our 150th anniversary issue on 7 January, this week’s special supplement on the evolution of brands and branding is another fascinating journey, focusing this time on the rites of passage of brands we know (or knew) and love (or loved) and hate (or hated).
But history never stands still. And if you wanted proof, this week we report on two interesting and important developments in trademark infringement.
The first case, Ella vs Ella, has pitted the wits of Ella’s dad - Paul Lindley, of Ella’s Kitchen fame - against Ella’s mum - the TV chef Lorraine Pascal. This is not some glamorous divorce case, however, in which celebrities tussle over the same child. There are two Ellas in question here. But for some reason, both the parents in question decided to name their brands after a child using the same name.
The fact that Ella’s Kitchen was prepared to go to tribunal in order to prevail, proves that however cute a brand’s positioning (and Ella’s Kitchen, which talks about “tiny tummy touchpoints”, is nauseatingly cute at times), it must be very grown up indeed when it comes to protecting its lovingly nurtured brand identity.
When it comes to legal precedent, however, the report on copycat brands, commissioned by the British Brands Group, is almost certainly more significant. Supermarkets have regularly ripped off brands to make money, with brands rarely taking action, partly due to a lack of evidence. Now, with the study showing more clearly the impact of copycat brands, lawyers are already talking to brand owners about next steps.
It just goes to show: this branding malarkey is a lot more complicated than meets the eye. I’ve observed, in the supplement, that marketing has evolved into a bit of a ‘peeing’ contest: from two ‘Ps’ - product and price - to four, and then eight.
But what makes a brand involves a whole alphabet. So here goes: Advertising. Bravery. Consistency. Design. Excellence. Friends. Giveaways. Heart. Innovation. Jingles. Knowledge. The Label. Manufacturing. A Name. Opportunism. Price. Quality. Route to Market. Story. The Trademark. Understanding. Values. Wonga. X-factor. Your. Zest.