Sunday, 18 November 2012

Misuse of the Australian brand

Maybe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I've noticed something since I started travelling in 2007. The Australian "brand" is used with complete disregard. Products that have no affiliation with Australia, but instead use Australian themes to promote their (usually American) brand. This is a pet peeve. A huuggeee pet peeve. You know me though, I hold in all my anger and never rage at people about these things.... maybe.

These are my least favourites.

UGG Australia
If you're Australian, you should hate this brand. Not just a little bit of hate, but heart racing, blood boiling fury. If you don't, here's why you should.

Ugg Boots have been an Australian staple for years. Called Ugg Boots because they were so damn freaking ugly. They were used by surfers to keep their little footsies warm after getting out of the ocean. The story goes that Pamela Anderson thought these boots were pretty bad arse and wore them around in the US, thus making them fashionable by celebrity association. Why Pammie was making anything fashionable is completely beyond me though.

In 1999 Deckers registered their trademark for 'UGG' in the US and in 2003 they sent a nasty little letter to all the local stores in Australia telling them they'd trademarked the word UGG and they'd all be sued if they didn't stop calling their sheepskin boots 'Ugg Boots'.

Now in Australia, sheepskin stores aren't massive. They don't have huge profits or legal departments to fight against a big multinational. However one brand also wasn't stupid (like Deckers) and realised that their legal case was bogus. They did the big UGG THIS and eventually beat them in court.

If you are in Australia and don't get Uggs made in Australia, I hate you
The reason? Ugg Boots are a generic name for a shoe. It's like Havianas trying to trademark 'flip-flop' or 'thongs'. Or Adidas trying to stop Nike calling their sneakers, sneakers. Fools. There's even a nice little Wikipedia article about the trademark disputes they've had.

I was in Nordstrom the other day and the lady told me I should buy a pair of UGGs. I gave her my best "Bitch PLEASE" look, and said "as I am actually Australian that is offensive as that brand is my nemesis". Or something along those lines.

The worst part, is that all over North America UGG Australia has that brand awareness.

Me: "Cute Ugg Boots, but I'm going to judge you for wearing them to the pub."
Friend: "Oh these are Emus not UGGs"

The Outback Steakhouse
Ok, I've never actually been here and I've heard they do a lovely steak, but my issue is with their ads (adverts). The Outback Steakhouse is an Australian themed American restaurant chain. Most people would have seen it or heard of it on their travels, also there are a few restaurants in Australia. Has anyone seen the ads on TV? They are so annoying.

First they have this dodgy fake Australian accent, which makes my brain get all sorts of confused. It's close enough that you recognise that it's supposed to be Australian, but also that it's not quite right. Also they have this weird didgeridoo music that is so not PC. I don't think Australian Aboriginals ate a lot of steak. Plus, it shows all this footage of places I haven't even been to in Australia. Rude.

Aussie (hair care)
The ad has a purple kangaroo jumping around, and another fake Australian accent. Don't really need to say more, BUT they also don't even pronounce Aussie right. Way too much emphasis on the 's' rather than pronouncing it like it's a 'z'.

Guys, 'Aussie' and 'Ozzie' are pronounced the same way. No one in Australia uses 'Ozzie' or 'Oz'. Gross.


  1. This made me laugh. A lot. (But UGGs are so comfy!!!)

    1. Haha I'm glad :) I love my ugg boots too, I just don't like evil brands that trademark things they shouldn't... though I still eat cadburys and they tried to trademark purple?!? Ha