Have you ever come across a creative or a campaign which makes you realise that you have seen the same idea portrayed by a different brand possibly of the same category? This copying of ideas is usually done by smaller brands rather than the bigger ones.

Competition between the brands is usually a healthy thing in any industry as it encourages the companies to provide better services to the consumers. But, sometimes in playing the game of one-upmanship, brands forget that the basic and most important part of doing business is being different from one’s competition whether the competitor is small or large.

Isn’t imitation the best form of flattery?

No, it’s not.

So why do brands copy ideas, creatives, campaigns?

It’s easy to lift things from other people. Suppose you are a marketer in a company and you are exhausted thinking up new ideas for your brand. So, you scroll down your competitor’s social media timelines to get some inspiration and while going through their creatives, you pick some ideas and try to implement that with your brand. But when the campaign is finally live, your audience realizes that you might have been more “inspired” that you realize. The campaign is an identical lift from your competitor’s.

Often when a new brand enters the industry with a fresh set of ideas and strategies, they get noticed by larger players. But instead of taking a page out of their creative strategies, the larger brand ends up copying ideas from them. The smaller brands usually do not protest as they don’t have the clout or resources that the bigger brand commands.

Is there any respite from copycats?

Suppose you are a marketer in a company and it has come to your notice that a brand has copied your idea, then you can possibly do the following things:

Politely ask them to drop that idea/campaign from their timelines warning them of legal consequences if they do such a thing in future.

If you have a copyright of that idea then you send a legal notice since it is an infringement of copyright of your idea under the Copyright Act. But copyrights are still dodgy territory in India and taking the legal route can be financially draining.

The easiest thing to do is letting online audiences know that your idea has been copied. The copycat brand will not only get criticised but will lose the trust of their consumers/audience.

Do you know of any instances where brands copied blatantly from other brands? Write in to us and tell us, we’d love to hear from you.

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