SUNDAY TIMES - Boxer knocks out BAT in pipe tobacco battle
Sunday Times Business By Ernest Mabuza, 2017-03-16 12:52:24.0

Boxer knocks out BAT in pipe tobacco battle

Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Leonard Dingler‚ the manufacturer of the 95-year-old BOXER pipe tobacco‚ has won its long-running bout with a newbie competitor.

British American Tobacco (BAT) launched a product known as AFRICA GOLD less than two years ago with branding similar to the BOXER’s product.

Leonard Dingler complained to the Advertising Standards Authority of SA (ASASA) in December 2015 that BAT’s AFRICA GOLD product had a similar overall packaging to that of its BOXER product and was sold in the same low price segment with similar pricing‚ to the same target market.

In March last year‚ ASASA upheld Leonard Dingler’s complaint and ordered BAT to withdraw the packaging of the product with immediate effect.

However‚ BAT was unhappy with the decision and took the issue on appeal to the Advertising Industry Tribunal.

The tribunal found in favour of BAT and said the dispute between Leonard Dingler and BAT related to trademark issues and‚ as such‚ did not fall within the jurisdiction of the ASASA.

Unhappy with this decision‚ Dingler approached the Final Appeal Committee of the Advertising Standards Authority.

In its judgment on February 27‚ the Final Appeal Committee overturned the Advertising Industry Tribunal’s finding.

“In our view‚ the whole dispute is about packaging and both parties agree so; that being the case‚ the dispute is about advertising and the ASASA does have jurisdiction‚” the Final Appeal Committee said in its judgment.

It said the packaging in dispute was “intended to promote the sale of AFRICA GOLD”.

The committee said it was not in dispute that Dingler’s packaging of its BOXER pipe tobacco had been there for 95 years‚ and that it still continued to spend a lot of money advertising it.

“It is not in dispute that by and large common colours are used on both packaging. Both packagings use a more or less identical shade of orange‚ combined with the colours black and gold‚ and prominent black geometric shape in the centre with the brand name therein in an arch-style typeface.”

It said the packaging in dispute was “intended to promote the sale of AFRICA GOLD”.

The committee ordered that BAT’s current packaging of AFRICA GOLD be withdrawn with immediate effect.