Toppa takes top spot but Trumpet still Tip Top - successful branding that lasts the distance

Article  \  12 Nov 2014

While it can difficult to measure brand success, a Facebook campaign to relaunch a product that has not been available for a number of years surely provides a good indicator.  For Tip Top that is exactly what has kick-started the relaunch of the Fruju Tropical Snow and Classic Mint Trumpet.  After successfully relaunching the Strawberry Toppa last year (resulting from a vote for New Zealand’s favourite ice-cream) fans rallied together in support of the second and third placegetters - and Tip Top took note.


As far as brand identity goes, they do not get much stronger than the Trumpet - an iconic New Zealand ice-cream introduced in the 1960s and still hugely popular today.  What makes these Tip Top brands so successful is that they are not simply a memorable word, they include a clever combination of unique branding elements (a number of which can be registered as trade marks) in order to set them apart.  A Trumpet or a Fruju Tropical Snow will no doubt bring to mind the unique ice-cream shapes, colours, slogans and advertising campaigns, in addition to their brand name, and of course, the product itself. 
The Trumpet may specifically bring to mind Rachel Hunter in a convertible in the “you can’t beat a trumpet” advertisement, or the togs or undies “simplifying summer” brand campaign.  While Fruju Tropical Snow may remind you of people swinging from the side of a yacht to the OOH! AHH! OHH! song.  Both provide excellent examples of campaigns which have helped to build, and maintain a reputation in products that have remained largely identical for up to 50 years.

In most cases your brand is your first contact with your target market, and their first opportunity to form an opinion about your product. Based on this alone, it is important to carefully consider your branding strategy.

So, what makes a good brand?

Creating a strong brand identity and differentiating yourselves from your competitors is key.  A good trade mark should be original, memorable, easy to pronounce, and convey the right image to consumers.  One option is to devise a new word for the brand, examples include Microsoft, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Google.
Another strategy which can be equally effective is applying an ordinary English word to dissimilar products, such as Apple, Amazon, and Subway.  Arguably these examples have acquired such strong secondary meaning based on the success of their branding that consumers may now associate the word with a product before its defined meaning. For example, Subway sandwiches, before an underground railway.

These examples highlight the various considerations to take into account when developing a brand, and the numerous ways of differentiating your product from those of your competitors. This includes using a logo (Nike tick), slogan (“just do it”), or a unique product shape (the trumpet ice-cream), and each of these elements can be registered as trade marks.

Having registered trade mark protection not only secures your exclusive use of the trade mark, it also acts as a deterrent to third parties from using confusingly similar brands.  Brand protection can also be useful for the purpose of licencing the brand to third parties, while retaining ownership in the brand. 

Whether it be a brand name, logo, slogan, or shape, all are capable of being registered as trade marks. We recommend registering your trade marks as early as possible to secure exclusive rights to use the trade mark throughout New Zealand, and further abroad.

This article is intended to summarise potentially complicated legal issues, and is not intended to be a substitute for individual legal advice. If you would like further information, please contact a Baldwins representative.