December 13, 2019

Baby Yoda Knockoffs Show Why You Need to Protect Your Brand Online

By Eleanor Adams / Brand Protection

When you have a product in high demand by consumers, brand protection on ecommerce becomes ever more important as knockoffs and fakes inevitably pop up in nearly every channel. Case in point: Baby Yoda. Jungle Scout estimated that Disney will lose $2.7M in potential Baby Yoda sales due to lost sales opportunity.

Who is Baby Yoda and what’s the craze about?

Baby Yoda is a cute, new character in Disney+’s The Mandalorian who has been widely popularized through various viral memes. And of course, demand for Baby Yoda toys has skyrocketed since the show premiered on Nov. 12.

The release of the Mandalorian has been accompanied by Baby Yoda memes and fake products across different marketplaces, often affecting sales of Disney products.Baby Yoda memes have sprung up across the internet just as Baby Yoda knockoff items have sprung up across different marketplaces on ecommerce, showing the importance of creating a brand protection strategy online.

Meme screenshots from Bored Panda

For example, Pattern Senior Brand Manager Newel Cobb did a short analysis of the search term “Baby Yoda” on Amazon and found it’s in this week’s top 25 search terms. For perspective, even during the fidget spinner craze of the 2017 holidays, “Fidget Spinner” barely made the top 500 search terms on Amazon.  

Last week, Jungle Scout also reported that “Baby Yoda” searches on Amazon have had more than 90,000 searches on Amazon alone in the last 30 days, a 7,203% increase from the month before that. Plus, “Baby Yoda Plush” searches increased by 4,782% during the same time frame.

Baby Yoda knockoffs inundating the marketplace

Independent sellers have popped up ahead of official Disney merchandise on every conceivable marketplace, from Amazon to eBay to Facebook Marketplace. Although we can’t know how much Baby Yoda knockoffs are impacting Disney’s sales, we do know that consumers are less likely to buy real products later when they’ve already purchased a Baby Yoda.

“Some of the people who buy the knockoffs will not come back to buy the real product,” Newel said.

Normally, Disney wins with merch like no other. They prepped Frozen II toys to be ready by the time the movie came out last month, and new Star Wars toys are already available ahead of the premiere of The Rise of Skywalker later this month.

Baby Yoda knockoff products have popped up on various marketplaces on ecommerce, showing the importance of brand protection for ecommerce.

Screenshot from Facebook Marketplace

So what about Baby Yoda merch? Unfortunately, official Disney Baby Yoda toys are currently only available for pre-purchase. The earliest are set to arrive by February; the latest, by May. With major holidays right around the corner, that’s not exactly quick enough for most avid fans. Some of the Baby Yoda knockoff items that have popped up on various marketplaces include hand-knitted toys, stickers, 3D models, mugs, and t-shirts of every variation imaginable.

Because Disney is, well, Disney, Newel used Jungle Scout’s estimator to calculate that they can still expect around 15,000 pre-orders in December for their top two Baby Yoda toys. And since The Mandalorian currently has a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s likely the show will earn a second season—giving Disney plenty of time to get on top of merch the next time around.

How Baby Yoda knockoffs illustrate a broader problem

Of course, the vast majority of brands aren’t Disney. Most don’t have to worry about a Baby Yoda-sized inundation of fake products across marketplaces. 

However, Baby Yoda illustrates just how easy it is for a great number of sellers to create fake products and steal opportunity sales from established brands. Without brand protection measures in place, brands can lose out on sales opportunities that have an effect on their brand equity at the least, their revenue stream at worst.

Protecting your brand with a brand control expert like Pattern is important for any brand wanting to avoid the problems that counterfeit products, like all the different Baby Yoda products, pop up on different online marketplaces.

“It shows how much of a wild west ecommerce is and why it’s important to have Pattern around,” Newel said. “This is an exaggerated example of how bad it can get, but there are a lot more subtle examples out there that we do an amazing job with.”

At Pattern, we help brands attain cross-channel ecommerce brand control and deal with more common problems that affect brand control and brand integrity. For example, Pattern does product purchases for our brand partners to verify products and notify our brands about sellers with counterfeit goods.

“You never know if your product is going to go viral, but if it does there are going to be knockoffs right away, and protecting your brand on marketplace is one thing that we do well at Pattern,” Newel said. “We make sure that your brand is protected online.”

While we don’t know how much Disney has lost in future sales because of Baby Yoda knockoffs, we know that it demonstrates why it’s ever-increasingly important to have brand protection measures in place beforehand, Newel explained.

By partnering with Pattern, you can take control of your product listings on Amazon other marketplaces. Reach out to us through the form below to learn about our monitoring software and more about how we do it.

More Resources
Amazon 1P, 3P, or E3P: Which Selling Model Is Better?
Top Challenges & Trends for Navigating Amazon & Other Marketplaces