The push for plain packaging – and intellectual property expropriation – began as a consumer awareness campaign. So, for example, consumers might think that ‘Lights’ weren’t as unhealthy as ‘regular’ cigarettes. Maybe they were confused. Some of my colleagues who did research into chop-chop discovered that users thought it was healthier than purchased tobacco because chop-chop was organic.
The point being that branding confuses consumers – and the government, we are reliably informed, as a role to play in ensuring that consumers don’t get confused.
So where is this leading? Well last week an article in the AFR caught my eye.
Banks’ brands misleading public
In its submission to the Murray inquiry, COBA said the position of the major banks was “now so dominant that the majors frame competition in banking as something that occurs only between themselves and within their multiple brands”.
It cited independent research from D&M Research showing 50 per cent of customers were unaware of the major banks’ ownership of smaller “competitors” and 80 per cent were unaware that the banks own certain home lenders. “This consumer research strongly suggests major banks are getting away with portraying their sub-brands as independent competitors,” COBA said.
There is an on-going assault on branding and advertising that threatens all business. Having succeeded in stigmatising one industry and its consumers, the progressive left are now targeting other industries.