Noticed at the supermarket this week: Kraft appears to be re-configuring its peanut butter product range under the name KRAFT Nuts.
First to appear was the "smooth" variety, fomerly called simply KRAFT smooth peanut butter. Under the new brand architecture, the same product is now KRAFT nuts peanut butter - smooth. Only a minor change, and the overall look and colour scheme are the same. So why bother going to the expense of rebranding?
Well, while "Kraft Peanut butter" probably carries significant brand equity with Australian consumers, the word "smooth" and the phrase "peanut butter" are both highly descriptive and not distinctive. Hence, Kraft could only ever claim Trade Mark protection for the word Kraft itself and not for any combination.
However, a search of the IP Australia Trade Marks register shows that a composite mark including the word KRAFT in its familiar hexagonal red border combined with the word nuts on a peanut-shaped graphic device was lodged in April 2009. Kraft and its lawyers obviously believe that "KRAFT nuts" with a specific graphic device is sufficiently distinctive to be granted a trade mark monopoly. This would mean convincing IP Australia that, in combination with KRAFT, "nuts" is an unsual name for a peanut butter or other spread (even though it's a highly descriptive word if applied to nuts).
Strategically, this gives Kraft the opportunity to build equity in something it can own beyond the KRAFT corporate brand name, but in a way that probably won't confuse consumers.
Given that I can find nothing about it anywhere on the web, this rebranding seems to be getting a very "soft" launch. But I would expect to see some new advertising featuring, and possibly explaining, the revised architecture before long.