I wonder if marketing is the last industry that allows its practitioners to rip off someone else’s idea. To be clear I am not talking about adopting best practices or changing a tactic seen in one industry and applying it to another. There is honor in that. Learning from others and using it as inspiration to develop your own product, ad, service, campaign is a good way to stay current and fresh. The behavior that I am talking about is ripping off someone elses idea so blatantly that at first glance you can’t tell the difference.
Here is one example. The image below is of cards that are updated every week at every Starbucks. Starbucks provides a code for the iTunes store for a free song, application or TV show.
Can you spot the CopyCat? The card with the QR code is the copy cat. This QR card sends you to download other companies application. The application has links to their advertisers. I also want to point out that the company is putting these cards in Starbucks coffee shops next to the sugar table right where the official cards are. In my opinion these tactics show a lack of creativity. It also tells me that the company behind it is shady and happy to profit from consumer confusion.