How many of you have been shopping and returned home to find you picked up a of Valley Spire cheddar cheese, instead of your favourite Cathedral City brand?

Retailers have been passing off their own products to look like the big brands’ for years. Is it right? Is it wrong? Does it represent a choice of value to the consumer? Does it make the consumer feel duped when they realise they have purchased a ‘lesser’ brand?

At Depict, we have worked on packaging over the years with brands and we can see the amount of time and money that has been invested by the brands into their product. Imagine your frustration as a business owner who finds out that a retailer has ripped off your packaging design? Not only that, they are selling at a lower price point to you.

In years gone by we’ve read about cases that have ended up in litigation, but the fact is it looks like brand highjacking will never go away. With the amount of cases that get thrown out of court or fall apart before a court room appearance, it’s no wonder the brands are frustrated by the apparent lack of support.

It’s a catch 22 situation as brands want their product in the faces of the masses, and at the same time Supermarkets and retailers want all of the big brands on their shelves. Yet the supermarkets also want the consumer to purchase their own product. What better way to do that than mimic the popular brands? The next time you go into a supermarket, just have a look around, watch what you put into you trolley and see if you pick a brand or copycat. It could be that you are so used to picking up the copycat that you don’t even realise anymore that it’s a mimic.

Supermarkets will group their own products with leading brands on their shelves. Almost identical colours will seamlessly blend the products together and it’s very easy to pick up the supermarkets own product. It’s not just colours that create a similarity, big brands get copied right down to the imagery and even the shape of the packaging. Considering that the big brands spend considerable amount of money on research into what their packaging looks like, it does seem very unethical that retailers can just piggy back on this effort for free.

Whether you as a consumer feel misled by this practice from retailers and supermarkets, one thing’s for sure, You’d Butter Believe It will be carrying on until more brands gain further victories in the courts.

Team D.C

Depict Creative are a West Midlands based design and marketing agency who tell Brand Stories. Stay up to date with our own news and stories – join our free newsletter.