Copy Cat Business

Copy Cat is a global term, popularly used to refer to plagiarism in Ghana. It is used where someone is caught utilizing copy and paste mechanisms or CTRL-C and CTRL-V for short 😁. It is usually confined to the academic arena but for lack of creativity, has creeped into our business sector.

(Why the cat has been tagged with this trait is unknown to me. I guess their sneaky and cheeky nature, won them the coveted title)

So here I was last night after work, going through my timeline on Facebook for news to ponder on, when I stumbled upon this post.

Owner of Calabash Brews complains  on Facebook about stolen concept

Calabash Brews Concept Stolen

My first reaction when I see posts of this nature, is to hear the other side of the story. Awuradwoa to prove her case attached photos of a post, marketing her business which was the same (ditto ditto – As we say in Ghana) as that of her competition in Cape Coast, Tintontin Brews. Here are the pictures.

Calabash Brew Marketing Post

Calabash Brew Marketing Post

Tintontin Brews Marketing Post

Tintontin Brews Marketing Post


To ensure that I was not drinking out of one calabash, I quickly searched for Tintontin Brews on Facebook to investigate the allegation made towards them. 

Their landing page had negative reviews from audiences familiar with Calabash Brews. (This is not looking good)

I compared their pictures and more importantly, the text used in the pictures above.

My verdict?

Tintontin Brews was indeed the copy cat.

I have no issue with the concepts being similar. I am a firm believer of “there is no new thing under the sun”. It all depends on who pulls it off best. 

Calabash Brews is not the first Ghanaian business or people, to introduce the concept of local drinks at events. The concept in it self is not unique. The same goes for the idea of calabashes and decor seen in the pictures. However, branding sets businesses with similar concepts apart.

MTN, Tigo, Airtel, Vodafone and Glo are all selling the same concept. They however go about it differently using colours and themes associated with them to set them apart. Even Airtel and Vodafone, both known for their distinct red colour, have clear differences. 

When mobile money touched the shores of Ghana, the networks seized the opportunity and added their unique names to the concept. No copy cats in this industry. (More like dogs chasing the same bone)

So I don’t have a problem with Tintontin Brews concept. The problem I have with them is their code of ethics. 

From the above posts, it is difficult to sway the perception that the intention by Tintontin Brews, was not to copy Calabash Brews and their branding (except for name of course).

If only they had changed the text used in the post above, I would have been writing in their defense instead.

It gets worse when Awuradwoa reveals, that the owners of Tintontin, called her and asked for the opportunity to expand in Cape Coast.

This is not behavior that is inspiring nor smart. It is not cool, wrong and should be frowned upon . Everyone is trying to make their mark out there. The least you can do is to add a twist to your concept so people can tell the difference. 

This is the same issue going on between Apple and Samsung and their devices. In this case though the culprit is caught red handed. 

I however like the idea of competition. Tintontin Brews should apologize and continue doing business. There is enough room in Ghana, Accra and Cape Coast for that matter for local beverage services to reap from. The repeat business of roasted plantain (Kofi Brokeman) sellers along the same street, is evidence that there is enough demand to go around.

What should be frowned upon though, is copy cat competition, such as that revealed in the pictures. Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard and be reputable for our creativity.

Keep it One Hondred!

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