Botox - When branding becomes as commonly used as a `hoover`

Posted on the 18 September 2013 at 12:21

Now ‘Botox for Hair’ is the latest product to ride on the success of an already well established brand – but for how much longer?!

We all vacuum our houses yet most of us will say that we ‘do the hoovering’. Many of us like to drink a caramel tasting carbonated beverage, which is made by many companies, but most of us will say ‘I’ll have a coke please’.

All of this is fine in everyday interactions with family, friends and the world at large, but you’d think that companies would know better than to use another, more successful brand, which is in common parlance to help promote their own product; wouldn’t you?

Well, another brand, more associated with the cosmetic industry which suffers from just that is Botox®. The leading brand of botulinum toxin type A is the ‘coke’ of its domain, meaning that many people will ask for ‘Botox’, talk about ‘Botox’ but really they aren’t bothered or even perhaps aware that they can or may have been given ‘pepsi’ instead!

However, aside from crossovers  in the  meaning and naming of botulinum toxin brands, many other sectors of the cosmetic and personal care products industry are trying to jump on the bandwagon and success of the brand name to further promote their ‘botox in a jar’ or similar.

To be honest it doesn’t even need to be that obvious. In 2012 Allergan took L’Oreal to court in a battle over trademarks and won. L’Oreal wanted to use the Botocyl mark, along with a Botolist brand for its Helena Rubinstein range, but the European courts deemed that these would be riding on the coat tails of the Botox brand and withdrew the trademarks which they felt would ‘take unfair advantage of the reputation of the Botox trademark’.

So fast forward to now and we found this hair product – BTX Hair – or Botox for Hair being advertised and promoted in UK hairdressers.

BTX Hair Website Screen Shot

Website screenshot taken 17th September 2013

As you can see from the website the product is clearly packaged as ‘BTX Hair’ and includes the strapline, (in Spanish) that it provides a ‘Botox effect for your hair’.

The site, run by the UK distributor Revolution Hair Concepts, includes You Tube videos plastered with the word Botox, as well as a blog touting the wonders and ease of promoting ‘Botox for Hair’ in your hair salon.

We made Allergan (the owner of the Botox® brand) aware of our findings, and I’m pretty sure I heard a collective sigh, as if to say ‘no not again’. They thanked us for bringing it to their attention so one suspects it won’t be around in its current form for much longer, but it must get tiring to have to keep stopping everyone who thinks that they have a god given right to associate their product with such a well known brand of cosmetic treatment!

I’m not even going to touch on the subject of Botox being a prescription only medicine which cannot legally be promoted to the public in the UK, but which is used with gay abandon by the press at large. Perhaps this is what makes companies think that they too can use the word like just any other noun in the dictionary. Let’s face it the Oxford English Dictionary has it listed!

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