It's rare these days to see something truly innovative on television. We see remakes of TV shows. Remakes of remakes of TV shows. Movies that are merely updates of classic scripts rather than new stories. Even "classic" commercials are brought back up from time to time.
Unfortunately, this lack of uniqueness has translated to the market as a whole. New products tend to be knock-offs of products that entered the market a generation ago. The new iPad, for example, is an improvement on the 5-year old machine I'm using right now to write this blog post ... it's nothing we haven't seen before, just an update of an existing product line.
At this stage in the cycle, though, it's more amusing to reflect on this level of stagnant innovation than it is to overcome it. Take the most recent Burger King commercial for example:
Burger King makes absolutely no claim to the originality of their product. They even go do far as to identify the product it's knocking off - McDonalds' Sausage McMuffin with Egg. This is an incredible statement by Burger King, and it puts them deep into the fight between the burger clients.
The ironic thing here is the implications this has for branding. Burger King is competing on price. They're introducing a product identical to their competitors' and leveraging all of their competitors' brand equity and marketing work to make a splash in the market. Think of all the copy-cat products you've seen and used in the past. How hard did those companies work to differentiate their cloned products from the market leader? Burger King, in comparison, is pointing out the similarities to save money on re-branding the product and focusing on the real point of differentiation - price.
How effective do you think this strategy will be in the long run?