Asda in denial as Tesco drops copycat packs

Asda, one of the most provocative supermarkets in the copycat branding war, is not to follow moves by its rivals to drop lookalike own-label packaging designs.

Market leader Tesco confirms its plans to change its own-label packaging in the interests of closer working relationships with major brands.

And Sainsbury’s is thought to be planning a rebranding programme which will distance its packaging from that of established brands.

One supermarket packaging expert describes Tesco’s move as a brave one. “If you make an announcement like that it’s an admission that you were doing it [copycat branding] in the first place,” he says. The policy changes could mean a windfall for packaging designers, as each retailer has thousands of own-brand product lines.

Sainsbury’s denies reports that it is going through a packaging rebranding. A spokeswoman for the retailer says that it constantly updates its packaging in an evolutionary process. “We are not rebranding,” she says. But marketing director Kevin McCarten has said that copycat branding reduces the credibility of own- brands.

A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, which represents most UK retailers, says the organisation does not recognise the term “copycat branding”. He says: “We believe that all retailers have strong brands in their own right.”

But John Noble, director of the British Brands Group which represents brand owners, gives the initiative a cautious welcome. “We reserve judgement until we see the intention turned into action on the shelves,” he says. But he considers it encouraging that a major retailer has decided that “it does not need to copy brands to succeed”.

Asda says that it plans no change and denies copying brands. A spokesman says: “Our position has been that we’ve never sought to imitate brands. We are confident in our brands.”

Grosvenor Estate Holdings’ property at 6 Grosvenor Street, London, is being marketed via a CD-ROM created by Pethick & Money Design Consultants. All the information usually found in a property brochure, including technical and lease details, are on the CD-ROM. Also included is the ability to ‘travel’ through a selection of rooms. The shell image, created by manipulating an x-ray of a shell, represents the number six and hints at the numerous compartments contained in the property.

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