shopper brain conference
Dublin, October 25-26, 2023
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Copycat Killers: Self-Defense Training for Brands
June 23, 2017 11:45 AM

In the world of FMCG it is kill or be killed! Products compete for attention in overcrowded categories meaning the shopper must navigate complex visual scenes to find what they are looking for. In nature, one of the strongest survival strategies to evolve is that of mimicry, either to camouflage a rival or distract a suitor. In retail, own label versions of leading brands often use similarity in package design to gain market share by association, but are they always detected by shoppers?

In this speech, Tim Holmes will present a visual search task to test 8 well known UK (target) brands alongside real copycat (distractor) brands on supermarket shelves to determine the effects on location (eye-movements) and decision making when one, both or neither were present. The sharpness and amount of color in the packs to explore the contribution of these at each stage were varied.

The study showed that color dominated target location whilst higher spatial resolution facilitated correct decision making. Participants located the copycat brands 760ms faster than the leading brands when both were present, and incorrectly identified copycats as the leading brand 20% of the time, rising to 63% when just the copycat was shown. The findings have implications for both shoppers and brands and suggest a number of defense strategies that can and should be adopted to evade these copycat killers.

Audience take-aways:
- Understanding the effect of copy cat brands and what to do about it
- Constructing the science behind automated search behavior of shoppers
- Exploring self-defense strategies that undermine the copy cat effect

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