Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adventures in mis/rebranding

Dannon licensed Oikos from its sister company Stonyfield Organic, thus creating two similar-looking but differently constituted “Oikos”® Greek yogurts on the market.  Much confusion resulted.  (Indeed, this post is brought to you by dissatisfaction within my household over having bought the wrong product.)  Stonyfield has now surrendered Oikos to Dannon entirely, so it has (allegedly) gone from signifying organic Greek yogurt to signifying conventional Greek yogurt, though I suspect that many people will retain their original organic associations, at least for a while.  The Oikos website doesn’t yet reflect this change, though its contents certainly explain why Dannon/Stonyfield quickly came to reconsider name-sharing.  E.g.,

Why is Dannon making Oikos®? To be clear, Dannon is not making all of the Oikos products. Dannon and Stonyfield have worked together to bring Oikos Greek yogurt to more stores near you….

Is Stonyfield Organic Oikos going to change or go away?

Absolutely not! [Ed. note: except yes!] Stonyfield Organic Oikos Greek Yogurt will remain exactly the same ….

Does Dannon own Stonyfield? What exactly is the relationship between Dannon and Stonyfield?

No, Dannon doesn’t own Stonyfield.

… How will I know the difference between Stonyfield and Dannon Oikos at the grocery store?

Stonyfield Organic Oikos packaging hasn’t changed….

What is the difference between Stonyfield Organic Oikos and Dannon Oikos?

Stonyfield Organic Oikos and Dannon Oikos are both authentic Greek yogurts ….

[Amusingly, this last is designated a “pricing question”]

I bought the wrong kind of Oikos. Can you help?

We’re sorry for the confusion. We’ve tried to make the two kinds of Oikos distinct, but if you grabbed the wrong product by mistake, contact us. We’re happy to send you a coupon for a cup of Stonyfield Organic Oikos or Dannon Oikos.

When a brand has to answer that many questions all on the same theme, it has a problem. Next time you hear that trademarks guarantee consistent quality, remember that trademark owners aren’t required to maintain any consistency—even thick and creamy.

ETA: The rebranding hasn't quite made it through every portion of the Stonyfield package.  From the back:

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