Fabio Vincenti, owner of Fabio’s Gelato, an independent ice cream parlour based in Hertfordshire has been catapulted into the headlines after recently adding a new flavour to their offering: Percy Pig ice cream.
To the delight of his ice cream business, the flavour was a success amongst new and old customers. However, the excitement melted away when a letter arrived on their doorstep from Percy’s owners with a packet of the same iconic pink Percy Pig sweets from British retail giant, Marks & Spencer (M&S). Much to his surprise, far from squealing about the use of the Percy brand, the contents of the letter were most cordial.
The letter explained how M&S were flattered that Percy Pig had inspired their new gelato, however, as it is one of their hero brands (M&S are the proud owners of 7 ‘Percy Pig’ trade marks), they could not allow the ice cream parlour to use the name.
The letter went on to say that to protect the brand, the company must stop others from using it without their permission. This is so they could continue to have ownership of those trade marks, but most importantly, their consumers would be confident that Percy Pig branded products originate from M&S.
The friendly advice M&S had for Mr Vincenti was to change the name of the ice cream to something that was not specific to the Percy Pig brand. They are however happy for the frozen sweet treat to be decorated with Percies (supplied by M&S of course).
Big brands have big reputations and stories like this attract attention. Some brand owners opt for a more aggressive approach. Others, perhaps with an awareness of how they may appear to their customer audience, go carefully. M&S have scored some PR points here whilst asserting their rights – and even Fabio’s Gelato have had some extra exposure. Anyone for a Neopigletan?