Plain Tobacco Packaging and Nigerian Shopping Plazas

There are so many shopping plazas* in the Lady’s city of residence. One thing they have in common is the mismatched signposts that are a sight for sore eyes. These shopping plazas house between 50-100 shops on the average (not that the Lady has ever bothered to count). Often, you find competing businesses in the same shopping plaza possibly next to each other. As a result, each one tries to stand out.

You see, packaging matters in this country. Think dirty sepulchres and white-washed tombs. A little morbid, I know, but it drives home the point. Above each shop is a signpost with which the business owner hopes to catch your eye. These signposts vary in size, shape, colour and design. Sight. Sore eyes. No sense of uniformity. Case in point below.

Pan
A typical shopping Plaza in Nigeria

In the Lady’s ideal world, every shop will be assigned a uniform signpost with a blank portion for the name of the business to be printed in a pre-determined font and size as in the image below.

Coca Cola
Coca Cola branded signpost

At best, the design for the signposts will be grouped into business categories for ease of identification. For example, the design for pharmacies will differ from that of provision* stores. The alternative would be to have a huge billboard listing the names and location for each business. Alas, the Lady has no shopping plaza to experiment with.

Thinking of this reminded me of the plain tobacco packaging law in Australia. The Lady is conscious of how much value Nigerians attach to their brands and wishes to clarify that the motive is not to discourage patronage or diminish brand values, but to create an aesthetically pleasing sight.

Standardising advertisements can be tricky where trademarks are concerned because of its inherent ability to exclude some features of trademarks. Nevertheless, with the Lady’s proposition, brand owners can still distinguish their products/services from those of their competitors as they will be allowed to use their brand names.


*This term is used loosely. Think of a multi-storeyed building housing numerous businesses.

*Grocery

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