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What is Brand Jacking? What is Copycat Marketing? Duplicate Branding / Copy Branding / Fake Brands

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

When a brand (usually local/New) assumes the identity (Color, Shape, Logo, etc.) of a popular brand for the purpose of misleading consumers of the popular brand, it is called Brandjacking. Copycat brands imitate the trade dress of a leader brand to free ride on the latter's equity.

Usually, it works for consumer goods where customers mistake the copycat brands for the original & end up buying them. It is a strategy to tap into the user base of a popular brand. It works because creating a new brand is an expensive affair requiring years of brand-building activities.

Becoming recognizable among customers can be bypassed when a new brand hijacks the identity of an established brand.

A study conducted by KPMG & FICCI revealed that FMCG in India loses around 30% of their revenue to Fake/Duplicate/Copycat products. The estimated value of counterfeit and smuggled goods increased from 729 Billion in 2012 to 1054 Billion in 2014.


In India Private Label from Modern retailers such as Dmart & Jiomart and from quick commerce like Blinkit is playing so close to copying the leader brands.


Why retail community support/overlook copycats?

Ficci's display on Copycats Vs. Originals
Ficci's display on Copycats Vs. Originals
  1. Copycat/Fake brands give more margin (20-100%) compared to the usual FMCG margin which is 7-15%.

  2. Many local copycats have better distribution in the region they are operating. This is especially prevalent in rural geographies.

  3. Lack of knowledge about the features & benefits of original brand leads to stocking of copycat brands.

  4. Lack of consumer awareness leads to the of-take of any brand available at the point of sale.


How to curtail copycats?

  1. Big brands have a legal team to prosecute copyright infringement of similar names/logos. This is more like a game of Wac-A-Mole, you hit one, and more will emerge.

  2. Educate your consumer about the original & fake. Tell them about the harmful effect of using sub-standard products.

  3. Stay one step ahead of the copycat in terms of product innovation. Create a barrier to entry by improving product features.

  4. Engage with retailers/consumers to build brand loyalty. Reward them.


How did Bisleri act against Copycats?


1. ATL & Digital campaigns to educate the customer to ask for the original Bisleri. Educating about its 114 quality checks.

2. BTL campaign at high visibility retailers & modern trade spaces to spread awareness amongst the masses.

3. To break the language barrier, Bisleri launched a range of regional language-labeled bottles.


4. Loyalty plan for high-value customers with door delivery options. This will not only build loyalty but will corner the upper-middle-class households & single youths in metros.


5. The new pack of 300 ml Rockstar SKU will take some time for copycats to copy as it involves making new dyes.



Written by: Gunjan Solanki.


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