Brands strive for brand loyalty as it often involves consumers being repeat purchasers of the brand’s products and in many cases, identifying with the interests of the brand. Most major retail companies have built brand loyalty over decades. Electronic cigarette (e-cig) manufacturers understanding the importance of brand loyalty in consumer purchasing habits are trying to reap the goodwill of these companies by designing knock-off products.
A large portion of these imitations are flavor knockoffs, or flavors with branding that strongly resembles or imitates an existing brand. Take “Starbuzz Tobacco”, a play on words of Starbucks Coffee, with a logo that shares the same concentric circles and color scheme. Starbucks is a popular brand amongst teenagers, especially teenaged girls, so this attempt to mimic the Starbucks brand is also an attempt to capture that image for the e-cig product as a hip product. Another example is Pink Spot Flavor’s Raging Bull flavors, which uses the same bull outline as the one in the Red Bull energy drink logo, and also adopts a very similar color scheme. The imitations continue beyond brand associations and encompass product associations – there are many instances of e-cig companies simply using the logo of a different brand in its own packaging. Many Juicy Fruit flavor iterations of various e-cig companies directly place the actual Juicy Fruit candy logo on their packaging, which, suffice to say, is massively appealing to children. There are also several variations of popular breakfast cereal flavored e-cigs including Lucky Charms.
The established brand name companies are beginning to take note. General Mills Inc., Girl Scouts of the USA, and Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. are among the brands that have started firing off cease-and-desist letters to makers of the flavored nicotine liquids used in e-cigs.1 With sales of e-cigs booming, e-cig companies can no longer fly under the radar after ripping off a large corporations trademark.
1. Candy, Snack Companies Want Names Off E-Cigs. Retrieved from http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2014/05/candy-snack-companies-want-names-off-e-cigs.html