C for Copycat?

With much fanfare and chest beating, Cell C yesterday unveiled their new brand identity. I'm not a designer so I'm going to steer clear of an in-depth commentary on the new logo from a visual perspective, but I have a few questions for them about the new pay-off line.
The new identity steers away from red, which no doubt will be taken up by Vodacom when they rebrand to Vodafone at some point in time. Probably a smart move. In a strange twist however, Cell C have come out with a new pay-off line, "The power is in your hands." Vodafone launched a new global pay-off line in the past 12 months as well: "Power to you."

Either this is Cell C trying to stunt Vodafone in some way (not sure why they would want to pick a fight with such a big global brand) or someone just wasn't doing their homework. Perhaps we'll see a legal battle over this one, who knows?

Whilst small brands have a right (and duty) to fight against the big global players, copying them is not the way to do it.

C for Copycat? - Brand Union

5 Aug 2010 22:48


About the author

Gary is a specialist brand strategist with particular skill in brand architecture and brand positioning. A Business Science degree in marketing launched his career at Unilever where he learnt the business at the coalface in sales and key account management. He then took time out to travel Asia and South America before joining The Brand Union in 2004. He now heads up a team of strategists, delivering world-class products to our clients. Gary has recently completed his MBA at GIBS which has freed up his time to read, write, play hockey and cook.

Prejlin Naidoo
When the CMO should be fired-
Clearly no-one has done their homework on the Cell C re-brand, least of all the Marketing department.

Apart from the most obvious gaffe of copying the pay-off line of the very brand they were trying to diferentiate, other more glaring mistakes are much more difficult to miss.

The first time I saw the new identity, I wondered whther the copyright symbols was err..copyrightable. A cursory chat with an IP lawyer confirmed that indeed it is nbot possible to register a trademark tghat has either the R of C used in trademarks. Either the Marketing Exec trusted the Legal Department or they missed it entirely.

The use of black, while differentiating, surely does not stand out in an industry dominated by vibrant colours that resonate with African consumers.

I wonder how much of this would have been avoided if they had chose to use a South African Brand agency rather than send the work to (and our hard earned GDP) to Sweden!
Posted on 18 Aug 2010 18:09