Completely Innocent, or totally Gaga?8th March 2011
A couple of brand stories this week; In one corner, Innocent drinks, the pioneer ‘friendly’ brand has to get all serious and ‘ask’ a new children’s vitamins range called ‘Innocent Vitamins’ to stop trading under that name. And in the other corner, Lady Gaga telling the Icecreamists that they cannot use the term ‘Baby Gaga’ for their well publicised breast milk ice cream.
A brand is a fragile little thing that is easily tarnished or misunderstood. It has to be protected by brand guardians that come dressed as the founding design agency, or when things get a little bit legal, their company lawyers. Brands are protected by copyright and this little ‘c in a circle’ is a mighty device. A product is copyrighted in different ‘classes’, so Innocent is probably copyrighted under food, health, etc and if a newcomer operates in the same area, then they have violated that copyright.
Innocent have noted that as their brand is a perceived health brand, then vitamins could look like a product from the same company. This coupled with the Innocent typefaces being identical to the average consumer’s eyes.
The more ‘old-school’ approach has come from Lady Gaga’s lawyers however, issuing a cease-and-desist notice describing the product as “nausea-inducing.” This, rightly or wrongly has bristled the parlour owner to question where does her ‘brand inspiration’ come from, and is it arguable that Lady Gaga has allegedly copied pop-star looks from the past? Article here.
Either way, being unique is the holy grail of branding. Pastiche is fine if it is acknowledged and mutual, but every day we try to focus on clients’ USPs and create brands that are pioneering and above all, well-protected.