In recent months, the larger supermarket chains have found themselves embroiled in controversy as a result of their price wars and less than market friendly tactics. As Peter Singline mentioned in his recent blog, the plight of smaller brand owners, in particular the smaller milk producers, has been brought to the country’s attention causing widespread consumer outrage.
Despite the recent market pressure, Woolworths has once again found itself in the spotlight, with Organic Marketing Australia launching a case in the Sydney Federal Court this week. The family-owned business trades as ‘Honest to Goodness’ and is alleging that Woolworths latest advertising campaign, featuring Margaret Fulton, infringes on its intellectual property.
The David vs Goliath battle, is set to cost Honest to Goodness owner, Matt Ward, hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and years enslaved in legal battle. The battle centers around the trademarked ‘Honest to Goodness’ phrase, which Mr. Ward argues can not be used by any other retailer or wholesaler of health foods. Woolworths is countering the allegations on the grounds that Honest to Goodness is not a unique element but a common phrase that can be used freely.
At the heart of the allegations is one question; is Woolworths using the phrase as an integral part of their branding, or simply using the phrase in a descriptive sense? Based on the campaign’s own branding, it would appear that Mr. Ward may have a strong case in his favour.
It is also worth noting that although Aldi have also been advertising ‘Honest to Goodness Savings’ in relation to their cheaper value proposition, they seem to have missed the media glare to date. They might just find themselves attracting unwanted attention in the weeks to come.
The Honest to Goodness brand is a perfect example of how important it is to not only have a unique and engaging brand identity, but an identity you can own and preserve in the market. It is not enough to create a brand based on visually stimulating imagery alone, if it is not unique and able to be protected by law.
If you would like to know more about creating your own unique (and ownable) brand identity, why not give us a call?
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