Top photo by Joan Marcus from 9 to 5 The Musical site (Megan Hilty as Doralee, Allison Janney as Violet—holding the boxes—and Stephanie J. Block as Judy); lower photo from Tiny Details dollhouse miniatures site (See also: Dollhouse Packaging)
This weekend I happened to catch some of 9 to 5—(that movie from 1980 starring Dolly Parton, Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda)—on TV. A significant plot point hinges on the issue of consumer confusion between two fictional packaged goods. Violet (played by Lily Tomlin in the movie) inadvertently purchases “Rid O Rat” rat poison, mistaking it for “Skinny n Sweet” artificial sweetener. She puts some in her boss’s coffee before realizing her error, and complications ensue.
Conclusion? While trademark law is generally more concerned with similarly packaged products in the same product category—(unfair competition and all)—clearly, there are also pitfalls to cross-category consumer confusion. (See also: Medicine Cabinet Candy)
Hence, the popular 9 to 5 catch phrase: “It looks just like Skinny ’n Sweet… except for the little skull and crossbones on the label.”
Beach Packaging Design