Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Purple announces the season and sells the Cadbury brand

We associate brand colours with political parties Red for American Republicans, the red rose of Labour, the yellow of the Liberals in UK , the Blue of the American Democrats and the UK Tories ( Conservatives).

As the church season of Advent approaches preparing the way for Christmas Purple is the tradition color for the advent season

Oxford Street lights 2012 well before Advent! 
The marketing of  the Christmas  season is well underway. Santa and the elves in their distinctive red and white clothes, the green of the Christmas trees and the brown reindeer roam the neon signs of tour high streets up and down the land.

 Click here :The Story of the Coca Cola Red for Santa Claus

'Christmas' Lights
outside John Lewis Oxford Street 2012
This year in Oxford Street the shape of the Marmite jars to be seen. Perhaps for some Christmas is a retail bonanza or others humbug – you hate it or love it – a bit like Marmite.

   Along with Trademarks of names and logos trademarking colour of brands has become increasingly significant.

Consistent and aligned marketing has meant that we often associate a brand just by its colour.


John Dere tractor pulling a floats at last weekend's Lord mayor Show
 for one Lord Mayor Gifford's charities woodland project for Epping forest
Most of us could picture in our mind’s eye for example courier UPS’s Pullman Brown ,T mobile’s Magenta , John Deere’s Green and Yellow (see above),  3 M Post It notes’ Canary Yellow ,Truck manufacturer Caterpillar’s  Yellow and Champagne’s  Veueve Cliquot shade of yellow.

 The recent ruling of the high court  in favour of Cadbury shows the increasing importance of colour trademarks.

Cadbury  succeeded in, trademarking its distinctive purple colour Pantone 2685C used in relation to its chocolate products. It is now able to prevent its competitors using that same colour. The challenge faced by Cadbury in getting the colour registered as a trademark is evident when you see that their trademark application was first filed back some 8 years ago.

Back in the day the original ruling from the Intellectual Property Office found that it was satisfied Cadbury provided evidence of its use of the colour since first making Dairy Milk in 1914.

 However its trademark did not cover chocolate cakes or assortments, which is why Nestlé's boxes of Quality Street contain the brazil nut chocolate wrapped in purple.

The signature purple wrapper on Dairy Milk chocolate bars is a trademark and cannot be used by other chocolate makers, a judge has ruled

The rich and sumptuous dark purple of the famous Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bar has been seen on sweetshop shelves since the start of the First World War.

 But it was only in 2008 that Cadbury decided to make the exact shade (Pantone 2685C, for the graphic designers out there) into a trademark.

Naturally, its Swiss competitor, Nestle, challenged the move arguing that colours cannot be trademarked. Alas, High Court Judge Colin Birss doesn’t agree.

In his ruling, Judge Birss said:

‘The evidence clearly supports a finding that purple is distinctive of Cadbury for milk chocolate.’

 At first, you could be forgiven for thinking the ruling absurd. But you can test the judge’s decision for yourself  by Googling images of ‘chocolate bars in purple wrappers’, and the only products returned are Cadbury ones.

Even Lindt’s branding is a sort of royal blue.

Regrettably for Nestle, Cadbury really does seem to have the monopoly on purpliness.

Colour trademarking marches on the catwalk:

 This is not the first time that a Pantone colour has been the subject of a court case. Just last September, shoe designer Christian Louboutin won trademark rights to the distinctive red soles that adorn his designs.

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