On last week’s episode of the Real Housewives of NYC, Bethenny Frankel called out frenemy Sonja Morgan for naming her wine venture something that sounds dangerously similar to her highly successful brand Skinny Girl. Sonja had announced that she would be calling her line of Prosecco “Tipsy Girl”.
(que serious eye roll)
Well of course there was a catty sit down in which Bethenny told Sonja the name for her wine was what is called a CHEATER BRAND. Defined as a brand that rides the coattails of a more well known brand, by either blatantly stealing product ideas or doing things too similar to be a coincidence. Sonja refuted those claims, however I’m going to have to agree with Bethenny here. Skinny Girl coined by Frankel in 2009 originally started as a line of books, and an exercise DVD. Eventually Bethenny would take the name and brand it as a line of spirits called Skinny Girl Cocktails, a line of more calorie conscious spirits. Bethenny later sold the brand to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global for an estimated $120 million. The name really became known and synonymous with being a chosen spirit for women counting calories in their alcohol beverages. It is very obvious here that the name “Tipsy Girl” being given to a wine is a play on the "Skinny Girl” branded line of cocktails.
I’ve seen this happen a few times with established brands as well as up and coming brands have ideas blatantly stolen from them. Be inspired but not a copier. What usually occurs when you try and imitate someone else is you do exactly that…look like an IMITATION. If you want longevity in your brand and for people to take it seriously be yourself, and figure out a way to do it differently. The market place can be crowded, but those who stand out do it by finding their OWN VOICE.
“First there are the originators, then there are the imitators, then there are the fools.”