Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reese's: Innovator or Copycat?

For the past few months, I have noticed Reese's, famous originally for its tasty Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, has branched out to other product categories. But some bear an uncanny resemblance to other established products.

Exhibit A: Reese's Pieces - This has been out for a while and not new. But it was one of the first product extensions I remember. Don't these look like M&M's?

Exhibit B: Reese's Sticks - This is a wafer bar with chocolate and Reese's Peanut Butter. Kit Kat is a similar wafer biscuit bar with chocolate. And Reese's even has the exact same number of 3 wafers stacked with 2 layers of filling in between. (This reminds me of the Jeep vs. Hummer legal case on why Hummer had to have the same number of vertical slots on their front grill as Jeep.)

Exhibit C: Reese's Spreads - Boy, that plastic jar sure looks a lot like Nutella. Granted peanut butter is not the same as hazelnut, but the concept is the same. And the 2 are stacked side-by-side when I've seen it in store shelves. So, you bet Reese's is hoping to grab share from Nutella!

Exhibit D: Reese's Headphones - Then there are some brand licensing deals that just seem silly. Reese's headphones! Really? Yes, I did not Photoshop the image below. Google "reese's headphones" and you'll see I'm not joking. Who would buy this? Do they really love Reese's and music that much, that they would want to combine the two? Even if someone made Skittles-branded headphones, I doubt that even Seattle Seahawks runningback Marshawh Lynch would wear them!

But Reese's also got a taste of its own medicine with others copying them, such as Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups. At least Nestle made the effort to make their cups rounded square-shaped instead of a circle.

In the end, driven by the need to grow their brands, the Nestles, Hersheys, and Mars of the world can only come up with so many original innovative creations in their own kitchens and just can't help to notice the success of a competitor.


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