in the news…cadbury wins right to use ‘iconic’ colour purple

in the news...cadbury wins right to use colour purple.

When we think of Cadbury, what is the colour that springs to mind? None other than their  ‘iconic’ purple. How important is this colour to their brand? Important enough for them to spend three years in dispute with Nestlé over the use of this colour.

Cadbury applied for a trademark to use this colour, which has been in use on its packaging for more than 100 years. This was granted to them by the UK Intellectual Property Office as Pantone 2865c.

In 2008 Nestlé decided to challenge Cadbury over this stating the colour was not distinctive enough to receive a trademark. Three years later, the UK Intellectual Property Office ruled in Cadbury’s favour stating the colour purple had enough ‘distinctive character’ associated with Cadbury to warrant the trademark. The ruling is an interim judgement and Nestlé can appeal.

A spokesperson for Cadbury stated how this colour was ‘jealously guard’, and clearly so if they are willing to spend three years in court over. The trademark is however limited to using the colour on its chocolate bars and chocolate drinks.

Power of Colour
Why do major brands fiercely defend their brand colours?  It’s because they understand the power of colour.

Colour triggers emotional buying responses
Colour (its correct use) can increase brand recognition by up to 85%
Colour makes your brand stand out from your competitors

Major brands use colour to engage with their customers and encourage them to buy.

So, how far would you go to protect your brand colour, especially if your competitors chose to use the same colour?

This isn’t the only major brand who has gone to court to protect their brand colour.  Louboutin has taken YSL to court over using their signature red sole.
the importance of colour in branding – why louboutin is seeing red
(posted April 2011)
in the news… brand colour battle continues with tiffany & co. backing louboutin’s red
(posted October 2011)

Photo credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Source: The Independent

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8 Responses to in the news…cadbury wins right to use ‘iconic’ colour purple

  1. Laura says:

    Karen this is fascinating. How on earth do they decide whether it is distinctive enough or not to rule in Cadbury’s favour?! 🙂

    • admin says:

      Hi Laura,

      That’s a good question. It’s possibly down to how well their case can be argued that this purple’s ‘distinctive character’ is associated with Cadbury, the evidence to support this and so on. Oh and no doubt very deep pockets to pay for the legal fees 😉

  2. I think you have to look at types of use as well. When scanning the sweetie shelves, you can always spot Cadbury’s right away!

    • admin says:

      Yes, I think we may spot them right away because of colour recognition. You are scanning over the other sweets and seeing the colours but there is no colour recognition until you see that tone of purple.

  3. Colour is such an important part of branding that I couldn’t imagine how Nestle would have got away with using purple in that way. It’s such a fascinating subject, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  4. Igor says:

    Perfect post! I deeply believe in the power of colours, especially from a marketing perspective. I actually wrote a thesis on the importance of visual cues for brand recognition and colour is one of the top cues. Cheers, Igor xoxo

    • admin says:

      Hi Igor,
      your thesis sounds fascinating. As you say, colour is one of the top brand recognition cues yet it seems to be the one that is most overlooked and misunderstood.

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