Whenever I travel outside the US, I always find it funny to see stores that look exactly like the American version with just a few changes. It’s as if they couldn’t think of a good idea on their own, so they just took an American idea and modified it to suit their needs. While China is by far the king of knock offs and knock off brands, you can also find many similarities much closer to home. Here is a collection of funny international knock off brands that I found while on a recent visit to Trinidad and Tobago.
The funny thing about this phenomenon is that it took me a while to notice. How long, you ask? Years actually. You see in Trinidad, English is the primary language, they watch American TV, and they import lots of American goods. I visited Trinidad many times without ever really noticing just how often they knocked off American brands. Then one day, I noticed a very blatant copycat, and next thing you know, I’m seeing them everywhere. The first one I saw, and the most obvious by far, is this blatant rip-off of America’s premier mega retailer for home electronics, Best Buy. This shopkeeper didn’t even try to be subtle!
Keeping with the electronics theme, I came across this copy cat while strolling though a mall one day. At least this guy changed a word in the logo, to be a little unique.
While in the mall I also came across this fine establishment. What happens when you want to open a Hot Topic, but you’re in the middle of the Tropics? Rename it Tropic Topic, of course!
For the last mall related store, I came across this sign on a kiosk. I think the pictures here speak for themselves. I never knew stuffing your own bear was an idea that held international popularity.
Speaking of toys, this next example clearly mimics another popular American brand. The shop owner did a pretty good job of changing it all around, but the concept is still pretty similar. I mean, you can’t expect me to believe that two different toy store owners both decided a giraffe should be their mascot.
This next one, hits very close to home. Trinidadians don’t drink very much coffee, and when they do, it’s normally instant, and very bad. So when they decided to open a whole chain of coffee shops to mirror the trend in the US, there was only one brand to follow. I guess this is what happens when you try to introduce a whole new product concept to an island.
This last one isn’t a store knock off but is still a knock off brand so I couldn’t help but to include it. What do you do when you’re in the Caribbean and you’re craving a can of Pringles? Reach for the next closest thing, a delicious can of Mister Potato Crisp. Mmmmmm, doesn’t that sound delicious?
The next time you’re in a westernized foreign country, take a look around. I bet you’ll be sure to find your own collection of brazen business owners that couldn’t help but model themselves on famous American brands. If you have any that you’ve seen, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.