Five times Woolworths found themselves in a fix

07 February 2019 - 06:08 By Odwa Mjo
The Ubuntu Baba baby carrier got Woolworths into trouble.
The Ubuntu Baba baby carrier got Woolworths into trouble.
Image: Ubuntu Baba

Over the years, retailer Woolworths has faced several allegations of plagiarism and other controversies. 

Here is a look at some of the awkward headlines. 

Frankie's Olde Soft  

In 2011, Woolworths was accused of copying a strand of soda names, as well as packaging, from a small business called Frankie's. 

A Facebook petition was launched by people who were in support of Frankie's. 

The controversy surrounding Woolworths and Frankie's started when Mike Schmidt, owner and founder of Frankie's Soft Drinks, appeared on a radio show accusing Woolworths of "cloning the entire Frankie's range".

The retailer denied any wrongdoing after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the company must remove the phrase 'Good ol fashioned' from its drinks. Woolworths withdrew the range from its shelves and apologised.

The Hummingbird 

In 2013, designer Euodia Roets revealed on her blog that Woolworths had copied one of her designs, adapted it and printed it on cushions.

Prior to that Roets had discussed working with Woolworths and had left samples with the company. However, no deal was reached. 

Ubuntu Baba carrier 

Shannon McLaughlin accused Woolworths of copying her baby carrier designs and using her name on their version of the carriers, which were on sale in-store and online.

The retailer admitted that the carrier had "striking similarities" and apologised to McLaughlin. Woolworths then removed the carriers off their shelves and online.

Pasta scandal

Woolworths has denied allegations by a local pasta manufacturer that the retailer plagiarised their products.

Happy Earth People, a Cape Town manufacturer, published a post on their website, claiming that Woolworths copied their chickpea and lentil pasta products. According to the post, Happy Earth People was the first to sell such products in South Africa in 2016.

Woolworths denied these claims and said they were the first to sell legume-based pasta in September 2015.

Valentine's Day ad 

The retailer has apologised for a recent Valentine's ad campaign that caused a stir on social media.

The advert includes a text that describes women in relationships which reads:

"She orders a salad and then steals your chips; she takes forever to get ready; she snuggles you to the edge of the bed; she uses your razor to shave her legs; she makes you her Instagram husband; she says she's fine when you know she's not."