WEET-BIX is Australia's favourite mark


July 2 2006 marked the 100th anniversary of the first federally registered trademark in Australia. It was registered under the Trademarks Act 1905 (Cth) which commenced on July 2 1906. On that day more than 750 applications were lodged and PEPS, a product for coughs, colds and bronchitis, was the first federally registered trademark. Since that time, over 1 million registrations have been granted.

To mark the occasion, IP Australia set about trying to find out which was "Australia's favourite trademark". This was not a competition judged by accountants trying to work out the value of the marks. It was a true subjective test of which mark holds and retains the highest level of goodwill with the Australian public. To begin, members of the business community were asked to nominate Australia's top 40 most prominent trademarks for consideration as the most popular. A panel of eminent Australians, including advertising guru Simon Reynolds, artist and entrepreneur Ken Done, rugby star and businessman George Gregan, and businesswoman and fashion designer Carla Zampatti, then joined together to consider the list of 40 and to choose their top 10.

It was from this final list of 10 trademarks that all Australians were then asked to vote online to nominate their favourite Australian trademark. The top 10 included: QANTAS the airline, PENFOLDS wine, VEGEMITE spread, DAVID JONES the retailer, RM WILLIAMS clothing, and the WALLABIES rugby motif.

However, the overall winner was Sanitarium Health Food Company's WEET-BIX mark for breakfast cereals.

Sanitarium's original wheat biscuit, GRANOSE, was marketed in Australia during the 1900s, not only as a breakfast cereal but also as an alternative to bread. During the 1920s, Sanitarium faced a challenge to GRANOSE from a new flake biscuit called WEET-BIX, which was produced by a company called Grain Products. In 1930, Sanitarium acquired Grain Products and made WEET-BIX its own and, ultimately, Australia's favourite trademark.

Julian Gyngell, Solicitor & Attorney, Wahroonga

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