Entente Cordial as Pitcher's changes shade, label

The IPKat has just read, via Brand Republic, that global drinks giant Diageo and powerful UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's have reached agreement in their dispute over the latter's allegedly 'copycat' product Pitcher's, said to resemble leading brand Pimm's (click here to see the products side by side). According to the breaking story,

"Diageo launched its legal proceedings against Sainsbury's in August over Pitcher's, a gin-based drink to which lemonade and fruit can be added. It's priced lower than the Diageo brand.

Right: a live unexploded Pimm's awaits the attention of the Cordial Disposal Squad

However a joint statement from the two companies today said: ‘Diageo and Sainsbury's are pleased to confirm that the dispute regarding Diageo's Pimm's brand and Sainsbury's Pitchers brand has been amicably settled and the legal proceedings withdrawn.'

Sainsbury's will continue sell the Pitchers brand, but with a modified label. It will also change the colouring from gold to orange".

The Press Association adds that the terms of the settlement -- apart, presumably, from those just mentioned -- are confidential.

The notably colourblind IPKat, who cannot easily tell old gold from orange, is amused at the terms of the settlement. He's also feeling smug that, with the benefit of nothing more than his 20/20 hindsight and the assistance of a cluster of international experts, at the MARQUES conference Community Designs Workshop he was able to construct a portfolio of Community designs and Community trade marks that would have enabled Diageo to blast Pitcher's off the market without the need for any settlement (see Class 99 here for further details).

Merpel adds: this looks like a big win for Sainsbury's in the short term, since so many likely consumers have now heard through media reports that Pitcher's is on sale at a lower price but will also have imbibed the notion, rightly or wrongly, that it is either an identical or equivalent product. But Pitcher's will have to lean heavily on the credibility of the Sainsbury's brand in order to persuade prospective consumers to try it (would it have worked if it was seen as a Lidl or Aldi product, she wonders?) The thing for Diageo to do is to set up website that is reminiscent of Sainsbury's, perhaps calling it Salisbury's, through which it can market its Pimm's more effectively ...
Entente Cordial as Pitcher's changes shade, label Entente Cordial as Pitcher's changes shade, label Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, October 01, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. Call me cynical, but the outcome is that Sainsburys makes a minimal change and Diageo settle.

    Sainsbury's don't have substantial costs in redesign/withdrawal of the product, Diageo can say they have "successfully" enforced their rights, which of course Sainsburys have acknowledged.

    Two companies dug in with difficult political positions reach settlement which has little real effect shocka!

  2. A further cynical comment. Sainsburys has gained a considerable number of column inches of publicity for a new product at minimal cost.
    However you can still buy Pimms for £8 at Lidl!.


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