View from City Road: Canning the can, not losing bottle

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There follows a rough summary of the embarrassed squeaks coming out of Sainsbury yesterday. 'No, no, no, no, no - of course not, don't be so silly. The fact that we have been forced, after protracted negotiations with Coca- Cola, to redesign the packaging for our own-label cola brand will have absolutely no effect on the hundreds of other copycat products we offer. This is just a one-off commercial decision, taken in the interests of harmony with an important supplier. There was no evidence that consumers were confusing the brand with Coke. Yes, Sainsbury has been taking market share away from the real thing like there's no tomorrow but this has nothing to do with the fact that the new product is virtually indistinguishable in terms of look. Rather, it is that it costs 20 per cent less and tastes a whole lot better. No, the truth is that Sainsbury has decided to repackage the product out of courtesy to Coca-Cola. There was never any question of David Sainsbury caving in under threat of legal action.'

And if you believe that, as they say, you'll believe anything.

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