27th March 2014
Well, that’s not quite right – what the article actually claims to show is “how to make a Crunchie in your kitchen”. Which of course you can’t do. No one can, except Cadbury. The best anyone else can hope for is a “chocolate bar with a honeycomb toffee sugar centre”.
And that’s not just legal hairsplitting – there’s more to a Cadbury’s Crunchie® than the physical ingredients, just as there’s more to a Ferrari than four wheels and an engine. Part of what you’re paying for with any consumer product is the brand: the whole consumer promise, reputation, quality control etc that have been invested in over the years, and these “added extras” are protected by trade mark rights. The minute a brand starts losing its distinctive nature, it risks becoming a valueless, generic label. Think of HOOVER – this should refer (in Europe at least) only to products made by the Hoover division of Candy Group, but has widely become a synonym for “vacuum cleaner”. So every time Candy tries to advertise “Hoovers”, consumers can’t be sure what product they mean – a genuine Hoover or just any old vacuum cleaner? Same as if someone complains that “I bought a hoover the other day and it’s rubbish” – you can’t tell whose product is being demeaned.
But, you cry, surely it’s clear that the Daily Mail is just talking about lookalikes and tastealikes, rather than the real thing? Well, even that poses such a risk to the integrity of a brand that the European Court of Justice held against it in the case of L’Oreal v Bellure, in the context of cheap “smellalike” perfumes. So picturing a homemade approximation alongside the real, branded thing, even on a website aimed at the general consuming public, is as much a trade mark infringement as selling knock-off Bounty chocolate bars and Oreos down the market.
Mind you, in the meantime, BrandSoup is tempted to join in: these four paragraphs are just like a genuine Daily Mail article, only cheaper, homemade and more accurate!