Endorse McDonald's 'rivals' to promote Heinz pickle ketchup plus...6 more campaigns using or dealing with copycats.

Endorse McDonald's 'rivals' to promote Heinz pickle ketchup plus...6 more campaigns using or dealing with copycats.

Dealing with copycats can be a soul-destroying nightmare but as the campaign examples below show, sometimes with a bit of creative thinking, you can have some fun with them too. Brave brands can embrace copycats and help them 'fake your brand' better, others can encourage copycats with rewards for the real thing. Alternatively, you can consider using celebrities who have been victims of copycats or as the ingenious campaign from Heinz below demonstrates you can sponsor copycats of a famous big brand to hack brand growth for a product off the scale.

The Official Sponsor Of The Other MCs | Heinz | Africa | 2023

Heinz continues to surprise its consumers with innovative products and experiences. In Brazil, they introduced a pickles-flavoured ketchup that garnered attention for its similarity in taste to McDonald's. Although it's not served in actual McDonald's stores, Heinz embraced the coincidence and became "the Official Sponsor of the Other Mc's," referring to the local McDonald's copycats.

In Brazil, there are numerous small businesses that mimic McDonald's in name and colours. Interestingly, there are 11,540 Brazilian restaurants named "McSomething" compared to only 850 authentic McDonald's locations.

Inspired by this cultural phenomenon and believing in the potential of these small businesses, Heinz and the Brazilian ad agency Africa decided to support them. They provided expertise in ingredients, delivery systems, and visual design merchandising. Additionally, Heinz supplied them with Pickles Ketchup, allowing these Brazilian recipes to finally have the desired "McTaste."

To enhance advertising, Heinz enlisted the popular Brazilian funk musician MC Don Juan, who has over 10 million Instagram followers, to star in customizable videos available for use by the supported "Other Mc's." This fun campaign has allowed Heinz to enter a new market, yielding positive results. Heinz Pickles became the top food product on Amazon Brazil, and the campaign led to a 67% brand growth.

Unmasking The Keanu Romance Scam | Home Equity Bank | Zulu Kilo Alpha | 2023

Romance scams accounted for the second highest monetary losses due to fraud in Canada in 2022, with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reporting a staggering $59 million defrauded from 1,056 victims.

To tackle this issue head-on, Home Equity Bank (HEB) in partnership with its agency Zulu Kilo Alpha has launched a new online series, "Unmask the Scam." This educational initiative not only exposes the deceptive nature of online relationships but also humorously clears the name of Canadian actor (and all-around good guy) Keanu Reeves, who has been falsely associated with these scams.

Through three fun episodes, a digitally simulated Keanu unveils the inner workings of three distinct scams: the Keanu Romance Scam, the Real Estate Scam, and the Tech Support Scam. HEB, as a bank exclusively serving Canadian retirees, has made it a priority to educate its clients about fraud prevention, given that retirees are often targeted by scammers. This campaign feels like a fantastic start.

Chickenstock | KFC | TBWA\RAAD | 2021

Perhaps unsurprisingly, KFC's product photos are a target for theft. Counterfeiters across the MENA region, from cities to villages, have been using familiar KFC's familiar food images in their establishments, from fried chicken to Zingers and Twisters. Unfortunately, there was little KFC could do to prevent this. What's worse is that these stolen photos were poorly replicated, with low resolution, stretching, inversion, distortion, and even pixelation. It damaged KFC's reputation and broke the brand team's heart!  To address the issue, KFC and its agency TBWA\RAAD opted to lean into the problem by creating KFC Chicken Stock: a collection of high-resolution, tempting chicken images available for free download. The initiative was a finger-licking success, with over 4,378 downloads, 256,400 unique website visitors, and significant improvements in brand perception, including a 37% increase in "Modernity" and a 24% increase in "Likeability."

KFC COPY PASTE | KFC | PS21 | 2021

Another one from KFC: with a staggering 516,000 recipe videos on YouTube claiming to teach the secret of Colonel Sanders' original recipe, KFC recognized the dedication of fans, copycats, and food enthusiasts who tried their best to replicate the most famous fried chicken in the world. To honour their efforts, KFC launched a unique initiative offering authentic KFC chicken in exchange for amateur recipes. Through a dedicated website, users could convert YouTube recipe URLs into redeemable codes for KFC products. By simply entering any of the 516,000 recipe links found online, the URL automatically transformed into a code that could be redeemed at any KFC restaurant. Each URL had a limited number of coupons available, allowing individuals to explore different recipe variations and exchange links for delicious KFC chicken.

Bugger Off Copycats | Jägermeister | BBDO | 2021

Jägermeister, a renowned liquor brand, faced a challenge as Chinese copycat brands emerged, imitating its iconic traits and misleading consumers. To combat this, Jägermeister launched the "Bugger off Copycats" campaign, collaborating with local celebrity Lidan, who had also experienced impersonation. Multiple individuals resembling Lidan were sourced, emphasizing the message that there is only one Lidan, just like there is only one Jägermeister. This personable approach enabled Jägermeister to reclaim its market share, witnessing a significant 30% sales increase and reestablishing its brand presence in consumers' minds.

Go With The Fake | Diesel | Publicis | 2018

To combat the challenge of copycats, Diesel secretly opened a real knock-off store called Deisel on NYC’s Canal Street. The location was far from Fifth Avenue or other fashion hotspots, and right in the heart of the city's most famed fake-fashion destination. But the fun really started when Diesel revealed that the supposedly fraudulent store actually contained genuine products. New Yorkers responded in their typical fashion by forming an enormous queue. Everyone desired an opportunity to obtain one of the 1,000 unique pieces from the collection. Prominent figures like Gucci Mane and Francesca Colucci showcased the collection on social media, further fueling the hype.