Brand owners step up copycat war

Brand owners are relaunching the trade body they set up 18 months ago to lobby against retailers’ lookalike products.

The British Producers & Brand Owners Group (BPBOG), which was launched in February 1994 after retailers were accused of copying leading brands for their own-label products, is relaunching as the British Brands Group.

The new body will continue to press for a resolution to the copycat issue, but will also act to promote brands to the Government, the media and consumers.

The BBG has some 30 members including BAT, Guinness, ICI, Mars, Procter & Gamble and Unilever and is seeking additional recruits.

BBG chairman Edwin Beckett, speaking today (Wednesday) at the Marketing Week conference on own-label and manufacturer brands, says: “The work of the BBG should now go wider. Although there are many trade associations operating in specific sectors … there is no single body which exists to promote the interests of brand manufacturers horizontally across a range of policy issues.”

The BPBOG failed in its initial aim of having an amend ment included in the recent Trade Marks Bill outlawing lookalike products.

Instead, the Institute of Grocery Distribution has been holding talks with brand owners and retailers to hammer out a voluntary code.

Beckett adds: “This may not answer all our concerns, but it would be a very big and significant step forward.”

The BBG will work across all brand sectors, rather than just grocery brands. It will include cosmetics, painting and decorating products, toys and consumer electronics.

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