Kogan and Spark feud over the colour orange

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Kogan and Spark feud over the colour orange

Kogan Mobile NZ relaunched across the ditch only a week ago, but the MVNO has already raised the ire of New Zealand’s largest telco Spark by using the same colour used by its budget telco "Skinny".

Skinny has operated in New Zealand for more than seven years, and adopted what Spark calls “a distinctive vibrant orange colour background” and “bold white text overlaying the orange background.”

Spark sent a strongly worded email accusing Kogan of breaching New Zealand’s Fair Trading Act 1986 as its marketing would likely confuse customers by associating the two brands.

“It seems clear that the Kogan NZ website reflects a deliberate design choice to adopt the brand attributes which consumers associate with Skinny in New Zealand,” Spark told Kogan.

Take a look and see for yourself:

Kogan Mobile NZ website on 5 September
Skinny's website on 5 September

Spark said it had put Kogan and its NZ partner Vodafone on notice and invited them to “reconsider” their branding.

Kogan responded by taking more jabs at Spark.

“You say you’ve been using the same orange and white writing for five years. Really? C’mon, mix it up a bit. Live a little,” the company wrote in its response.

“We really appreciate you looking out for us and ensuring that no customers may confuse our incredible offers for something lacklustre. We expect our prices and the deals we offer Kiwis to speak much louder than any colours we use, and we doubt anyone could have confused our offer with yours.”

To rub salt in the wound, Kogan Mobile NZ changed the colours on its marketing to hot pink, the same colour used by Spark.

“Please let us know if you don’t like our choice of hot pink and we’ll happily change it. But, if you are unhappy with us using the colour orange, you have to promise that you won’t use our new hot pink ;-)”

While this feud may look petty, corporate colour schemes are big business: Cadbury has famously spent years trying to secure exclusive use of the distinctive purple it uses on its chocolates, with mixed success.

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