Woolies to scrap ‘copycat’ drinks
Business Day - Feb 2nd 2012, 08:54
Despite only being asked to remove the "Good Old-Fashioned" slogan from its range of soft drinks, Woolworths has decided to remove the entire product range from its shelves, CEO Ian Moir said yesterday.
In what has been called the modern-day version of David and Goliath, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) yesterday ruled in favour of small homemade soft-drinks brewer Frankie’s and ordered giant retailer Woolworths to remove products with the copied slogan.
Last December, Frankie’s MD Mike Schmidt accused Woolworths of stealing his intellectual property and laid a complaint with the ASA. He alleged the company cloned the flavour names of his soft drinks and used his slogan "good old-fashioned soft drinks".
Social media networks were abuzz with comments on the story, with the majority siding with Frankie’s.
"We are disappointed by this decision as we believed that no one could own this descriptor," Mr Moir said yesterday.
"While we maintain that we have not copied the Frankie’s range, it is clear that public sentiment is against us. Customer opinion is much more important to us than the right or wrong of this issue, and the trust of our customers is far more valuable to us than a product range."
Mr Schmidt, however, said yesterday he was thrilled with the ASA’s decision and sales had increased since the furore started.
"One is never sure how these things will turn out but there is no doubt in my mind that this is the right outcome. I have no doubt Woolworths set out to intentionally copy our product. They plagiarised and we are glad the ASA found in our favour.
"This is a clear warning to the big retailers, the South African public are not easily duped and are well-informed and not afraid to express their opinions."
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