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Thread: Drop the kiwi!

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    MotherBear's Avatar
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    Default Drop the kiwi!

    [color=indigo:51040f2460][b:51040f2460]Kiwi no more a flyer for New Zealand [/b:51040f2460][/color:51040f2460]
    08 March 2006
    By DAN EATON
    [img:51040f2460]http://www.addis-welt.de/smilie/smilie/traurig/weinen.gif[/img:51040f2460]

    If you thought there was nothing more Kiwi than, well, a kiwi, you would be wrong. Officials responsible for branding New Zealand overseas have given up protecting our feathered national icon, which they say has become generic. A failure to trademark "kiwi" early on means it is now open season on the flightless bird, whose silhouette has for years graced the backpacks of New Zealanders abroad and is worn proudly by our troops from Afghanistan to the Solomon Islands.

    "Over time, kiwi has been lost in terms of its unique association with New Zealand," said New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) marketing manager Julian Moore. "I think, in terms of New Zealand, we should only have one icon we go for, and that's the fern. We aren't pursuing the kiwi because that is already gone." For a small country, two logos would not be reasonable. "It's like Canada having the maple leaf and something else." In a global context, we can no longer be guaranteed to win the argument that our national bird is uniquely associated with New Zealand.

    Nelson winemaker Greg Day, owner of the Kahurangi vineyard, found that out last year when a French grape grower registered exclusive rights to the name "kiwi" for use on all wine sold in Europe. Loire Valley producer Andre LaCheteau is now selling "Kiwi Cuvee" to Europeans.

    Day has been forced to withdraw his "Kiwi White" label, even though he was doing a roaring trade before the Frenchman registered the brand. NZTE, which worked with Day on the issue, said given the huge costs it was not a legal battle worth fighting. "The issue was whether New Zealanders had the right to use the word kiwi in preference to anybody else," Moore said. "Our view is that kiwi is a very hard one to go with. Going back to the early 1900s there was Kiwi shoe polish, which was developed in Melbourne. That, of course, is also the great tragedy of the kiwifruit?, Moore said. "Nobody though to protect it and therefore it got taken by other people and we lost the right to use it uniquely."

    The New Zealand kiwifruit industry spent huge sums marketing and promoting the brand but neglected to register the name. Chile, France, Greece, China, Japan and the US all began planting vines taken from New Zealand and calling the produce kiwifruit. That led to the creation of the Zespri brand in the mid-1990s, which has been protected.

    The lesson is one New Zealand has been slow to learn, but with the importance of trademarks filtering through, versions of the silver fern have been bitterly fought over by everyone from the New Zealand Rugby Union to Kiwi chefs. The name New Zealand has also been the subject of dispute. It was reportedly registered in the US for hair products and later withdrawn after our government lodged a complaint with the US Trademark Office.

    One to watch, say experts, is the growing use by overseas traders of New Zealand plant names and Maori words to market their goods. A Taiwanese honey producer has registered the name Manuka as a trademark, meaning New Zealand firms might have trouble marketing a similar product using the word in Taiwan.

    "I think the awareness of trademarking is much higher now but the issue for New Zealand exporters is cost, because you have got to protect yourself in every single mar-ket," Moore said. That is exactly what NZTE has now done with the fern mark used by government agencies for official branding. It is called the Brand New Zealand Fern and is owned by a company jointly belonging to Tourism New Zealand and NZTE.

    Sticking with a single brand was a wise move, said Corinne Blumsky, a partner at New Zealand intellectual property law firm AJ Park. "You are building up equity in that brand, which comes to be locked into the mind of consumers as meaning New Zealand," he said. "If you have too many brands, that message can be confusing." Blumsky said the lesson from past losses was to plan ahead. "Before you start using a brand, make sure you can use it," she said. "Register it. Make sure you are protected."
    And for New Zealand businesses, national icons like the kiwi, may not always be the best way to go. "The flipside of the kiwi is that the whole idea of a trademark is to differentiate yourself in the market place from your competitors," she said. The fern also is an "already crowded space".

    For businesses hoping to go global, the trick is to choose a name with no association to the product you are selling, or even better, make up a word, Blumsky said. History shows that, in the branding game, words like Xerox, Kodak and Fonterra can be just as successful. Those brand names are also far less likely to be already in use by someone else.
    Mother Bear

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    Pulsarblu's Avatar
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    Default Drop the kiwi!

    Do you know that Kiwifruit was not native to New Zealand? It was brought in from China.

    Origin: The kiwifruit is native to the Yangtze River valley of northern China and Zhejiang Province on the coast of eastern China. The first seeds were brought out of China by missionaries to New Zealand at the turn of this century. Early nurserymen in New Zealand, such as Alexander Allison, Bruno Just, and Hayward Wright, recognized the potential of the fruit and it soon became a popular backyard vine. Several plants were sent to the Chico Plant Introduction Station in California and exist to this date. In addition to New Zealand and California, kiwifruit is also grown commercially in such areas as Italy, South Africa and Chile.


    pulsarblu

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    Default Drop the kiwi!

    Smartypants! :icon_wink: :icon_wink: :icon_wink:

    However, the 'chinese gooseberry' didn't have the world-wide popularity it has now until it was renamed kiwifruit. The trouble is that the trusting (or naive) NZers didn't register the brand-name at the time and now anyone in the world can grow and call their chinese gooseberries 'kiwifruit'.

    Now it seems to be the same situation with the kiwi bird itself. :icon_sad:

    :icon_biggrin:
    Glenda
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

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    Default Drop the kiwi!

    Strange how a foreign company, like the French grape grower mentioned above, would want to associate itself with something that is totally unique to another country and absolutely nothing to do with its own country. I?d have thought that anyone seeing the word ?kiwi? on a bottle of wine would assume immediately that it came from NZ and not France
    Mother Bear

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    selchie's Avatar
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    Default Drop the kiwi!

    Don't the French get snippy about anyone using the term "champagne" for bubbly wine not made in Champagne? Trademarks are getting out of hand if Kiwis can't use the word "kiwi" on their product. Yeesh.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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