Whingers must help themselves

Letter of the month prize. Every month the editor will award this de luxe fountain pen to the writer of the best letter. The chrome and 22ct gold pen, made by AT Cross, is worth 85. The editor’s judgment will be final.

In the light of the ongoing debate re copycat brands, I would like to pose a challenge to marketers for 1997. Isn’t it time fmcg companies stopped whinging and faced up to the reality that a brand, like a species of animal, must obey social Darwinism?

If the consumer is happy to buy a brand such as Asda’s own-label bourbon and consumers, like my mum, believe the contents are as good as the branded equivalent, then doesn’t this highlight a weakness to be addressed? No brand deserves extra help to survive.

Indeed, a recent study by Manchester Business School questions whether “brand imagery can continue to sustain the difference in the prices shoppers pay for similar, or even inferior, products…”

Sometimes in business, as the great Sir John Harvey Jones says, marketers have to kill their favourite children to survive. So, come on marketers, start creating brands with the longevity and resilience of Aston Martin, for example.

Brands need to show true spirit and courage to win the consumer, as David Ogilvy once said “the consumer is your mum – and she’s not stupid; give her reasons to pay more or suffer the consequences!”

I believe the copycat branding issue is a red herring, look at Coca- Cola which has gone from strength to strength since Sainsbury’s and Virgin copied it. I’d like to open the debate as to how and why Coca-Cola has not only increased its market share in the past year, but also remains the leading fmcg brand in the UK, despite tougher competition from retailers and Pepsi ?

Paul Stallard

Associate director

The Gathering

Henley on Thames


Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here