Who are some pretend business competitors?
September 18, 2009 8:05 AM   Subscribe

What are some examples of "pretend" business competitors? I'm thinking of brands that appear to be separate businesses and appear to be in direct competition, but are in fact owned by the same company.

Two examples I can think of:

Bell and Giro bike helmets, the two leading brands, both owned by Bell Sports.

Best Buy Canada and Future Shop, two Canadian big box electronic stores, usually set up on the same parking lot, both owned by Best Buy.

I'm not really looking for the Campbell's-Soup-type flooding of the product display, as in that case they are at least up front about who is dominating the shelf. I would probably also rule out mergers that are just taking a little while to process.
posted by teg to Shopping (75 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I've often wondered quite how many different brands of soap (amongst other things) Unilever really need to put onto the market. I don't know if that's an appropriate answer, though.
posted by robself at 8:10 AM on September 18, 2009

Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy are owned by Gap, Inc. Not sure whether this counts, as they all appeal to slightly different markets. But seems close.
posted by ecab at 8:11 AM on September 18, 2009

Zappos and Endless are now both owned by Amazon. I don't think this is as much trying to maintain the appearance of competition as just a branding thing and an acquisition thing but I'm not sure if it's the "processing mergers" category either, maybe it is.
posted by jessamyn at 8:14 AM on September 18, 2009

I think mid-range hotel/motel chains might be a good example. See the impressive list of logos at the top of the Choice Hotels page.
posted by scratch at 8:17 AM on September 18, 2009

Laundry detergent is also like this as well as brands of shampoo.
posted by mmascolino at 8:17 AM on September 18, 2009

Response by poster: The Gap example I think is fairly well known, and they're aiming for slightly different demographics, so that's not quite what I'm looking for. The Unilever example is close, although they do put their little logo on all the products and put all the brands on one website. I guess I'm looking for examples where they've tried to be a bit sneakier about it: Situations where a consumer would think they were doing some comparison shopping, when they really weren't.
posted by teg at 8:18 AM on September 18, 2009

Almost all of the casinos on the Las Vegas strip are owned by the same handful of companies.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Pretty much any of the CPGs could be said to compete against themselves to an extent. robself already mentioned Unilver, but General Mills effectively competes against itself with its Cascadian Farms brand. Green Giant, Nature Valley and Big G Cereals brands all compete against Cascadian Farms products. You used to be able to say the same thing about Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, but General Mills no longer produces Pillsbury flour or baking mixes for the US market.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2009

Seattle's Best is owned by Starbucks.
posted by jquinby at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

More common is the edgy or luxury brand bought out by the larger, mass-market conglomerate. For instance, in the UK, Innocent smoothies are part-owned by Coca-Cola, Pret a Manger cafes are part owned by McDonalds, Converse sneakers are owned by Nike, and Green & Blacks luxury chocolate is owned by Cadbury's.
posted by so_necessary at 8:23 AM on September 18, 2009

Situations where a consumer would think they were doing some comparison shopping, when they really weren't.

Definitely Cascadian Farms, then -- you can't tell that the brand is owned by General Mills just by looking at the packaging.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2009

Sears and Kmart - both owned by Sears

Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic are all owned by Gap, and have been for decades and not only operate in the same malls but are often located next to each other.

Dish detergents Cascade, Dawn, Ivory, and Joy are all owned by P&G (many others like this here )

Laundry detergents: Cheer, Downy, Dreft, Era, Gain, Ivory, Tide also by P&G

This is also startlingly common in foods (Hershey, Kraft, Conagra, Nestle, etc)

In media, MTV, Comedy Central, Spike, Noggin, Nickelodeon, and BET are all owned by Viacom

GM cars: Chevy, Buick, Cadillac, Hummer, Pontiac.

VW cars: Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bugatti, Bentley, Lamborghini

BMW: BMW, Rolls Royce

Is this the stuff you are looking for?

Note that these are never "direct" competitors. The brands are carefully marketed to appeal to different segments by slightly differentiating the product or the retail experience. Products are differentiate by luxury or features, but in many cases the products are almost identical but for packaging.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2009

Sewing machine and pattern companies are like this.

Last time I checked, the umbrella company started off with Singer, then bought Viking, Pfaff, and White. They may have added a couple of others in the past 4 years.

Although they started out as very distinct brands, all four major American pattern companies (Vogue, Butterick, McCall's, and Simplicity) are owned by the McCall's Pattern Group out of Manhattan, Kansas.

In both cases, the brands are continued as distinct divisions because folks have gotten used to and developed a strong sense of brand loyalty. So there are still differences.

I have noticed in the past two or three years, though, that they are leveling the brands as they can. A Singer machine and a Viking or Pfaff used to be very different things, but the baseline models now share a lot of terrible engineering - unlike 10-15 years ago.
posted by Tchad at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2009

Proctor & Gamble is the best example of this I can think of. They own tons of consumer product companies, and while sure, it's on the back of their label at some point, perhaps, most people have no clue that Luvs and Pampers are the same company, Cascade, Dawn, Ivory, and Joy, or even worse, Cheer, Tide, Era, Gain, or up until recently (when they acquired Gillette and had to spin it off) Old Spice and Right Guard. (They had to sell Right Guard off, and Henkel/Dial bought it.)

I mean, seriously. If you look carefully enough and pay this much attention, yeah, it's on the website and the back of the label, but most people have no. earthly. clue.
posted by disillusioned at 8:26 AM on September 18, 2009

Do beers count? Molson-Coors makes Coors, Molsons, Killian's Irish Red, Blue Moon, and Keystone, among other beers.
posted by fings at 8:26 AM on September 18, 2009

Situations where a consumer would think they were doing some comparison shopping, when they really weren't.
posted by teg at 11:18 AM on September 18

If this is what you are looking for - then you want Procter & Gamble. The products do not include a P&G logo. The company is only mentioned at the bottom of the fine print on the back label. Most customers are not aware that Tide and Era are made by the same company - fun fact. For a time, Tide and Era were identical detergents. It was exactly the same product in two different containers. Era was sold on getting out tough stains, Tide was sold on scent and "freshness", but what was in the bottle was exactly the same (this is no longer the case).
posted by Pastabagel at 8:28 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bolt Bus is owned by Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines, but you would never know it from looking at their website. I'm pretty sure this is intentional, as Peter Pan doesn't have the best bus reputation.
posted by bluefly at 8:28 AM on September 18, 2009

HP and Compaq maybe? They're not especially sneaky about it, but the fact that both lines of computers are still produced has always confused the hell out of me.
posted by ish__ at 8:28 AM on September 18, 2009

Nelco tax forms and Greatland Corporation. They are the self-same company, though they'll swear up and down on the phone that they're not.
posted by BostonTerrier at 8:28 AM on September 18, 2009

Can't resist linking to my own comment about Luxottica in another thread.
posted by washburn at 8:30 AM on September 18, 2009

I can't believe I forgot about tools. Black and Decker, DeWalt, and Porter-Cable tools are all made by B&D
posted by Pastabagel at 8:31 AM on September 18, 2009

Performance Bike and Nashbar. Both owned, managed, stocked, and staffed by Performance.
posted by pdb at 8:31 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Are there any examples of companies doing this from scratch, intentionally? It seems like most examples that are not market segmentation based are just a takeover that wasn't re-branded. Like Bell and Giro both were successful companies, then Bell bought Giro in 1996. Best Buy bought Future Shop in 2001.
posted by smackfu at 8:33 AM on September 18, 2009

Beer is pretty much like this. There's the Big 3 (Miller, Coors, and Anheuser-Busch), and they produce many additional brands to take up shelf space and attract the consumer's eye.

-Blue Moon? Killian's? Keystone? All Coors.
-Busch, Budweiser, Michelob, Rolling Rock and more are all Anheuser-Busch InBev.
-Miller produces their eponymous beers as well as Milwaukee's Best and Hamm's.

You can often figure out the ties by reading the packaging, but it's not really overt. Blue Moon comes from Golden, Colorado, for instance, so the tie to Coors is only obvious if you know Coors as well.
posted by explosion at 8:36 AM on September 18, 2009

Do beers count? Molson-Coors makes Coors, Molsons, Killian's Irish Red, Blue Moon, and Keystone, among other beers.

This one repeated for emphasis. It's no surprise that Molson-Coors brews Molson and Coors. The big one here is Blue Moon. Wikipedia says:
Coors does not actively advertise the fact that the brew is owned by Coors on the belief that being associated with a major national brewery would diminish its credibility among aficionados. Blue Moon is instead branded as being brewed by the "Blue Moon Brewing Company."
This one really raises the hackles of beer geeks.
posted by fixedgear at 8:40 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Are there any examples of companies doing this from scratch, intentionally?

It seems like a bad business plan. Sometimes new brands are created to differentiate and separate consumer impressions, such as Toyota's Lexus division, or Gap's Old Navy. In the case of Lexus, it makes it look more special instead of a "souped up Lexus." Old Navy lets Gap tackle budget clothes without making the Gap name synonymous with "crappy clothing."

Attacking the same market from the same angle, but with 2 different names? Seems like it'd be better to just use the power of name recognition. The only exception I can think of is that car companies kind of do that. The Toyota Corolla and the Scion cars are in the same price bracket, and have similar features, but the Corolla is a budget "responsible car," while the Scions are budget "sporty city cars." From a functionality viewpoint, they're similar, but from a styling and marketing viewpoint, they're probably different enough that they constitute a different market.
posted by explosion at 8:43 AM on September 18, 2009

Starbucks has been experimenting with pseudo-local coffee shops as discussed in this Mefi post. I guess that's sort of market segmentation/branding, but it seems a little different - like an acknowledgment that in Starbucks's desired market name recognition/ubiquity is a bad thing.
posted by yarrow at 8:49 AM on September 18, 2009

I really wouldn't include most of the car marques - first of all, the fact that Chevy, Cadillac, etc, are all GM, is pretty well-known; second, much of the point of having multiples marques within one company is to sell to different markets. BMW may own Rolls-Royce, but not many people are going to think, hmm, which of these two will I buy? - as opposed to comparing a BMW to a Mercedes-Benz. Similarly, Honda owns Acura, and I'm sure some people debate between a lower-end Acura and a higher-end Honda, but again, it's common knowledge who's really making them.

Similarly, The Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic sell to substantially different demographics, and occupy very different points on the price curve.

The real examples, I think, are cases like Bell/Giro, the detergent swarm, or - infamously - the beer situation; Blue Moon, Rolling Rock, etc.

Though Yum! Brands isn't unknown, I'm not sure it's common knowledge at all that KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut are all owned by the same entity, but they're arguably not direct competitors, given the different food offerings; same for Darden Restaurants, which owns Red Lobster and The Olive Garden.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:51 AM on September 18, 2009

smackfu correctly points out that a lot of these happen through acquisition, not creation. It has happened a lot with beer, where a major brewer will buy a regional craft brewer (Miller bought the local Celis brewery).

Both Pottery Barn and West Elm are owned by Williams-Sonoma. They have a different aesthetic, but their store layouts betray a common ownership. I believe West Elm was created by W-S, not acquired.

Panasonic does business under a variety of names—National, Technics, Sanyo and (previously) Matsushita.
posted by adamrice at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2009

I'm not sure about now, but years ago, when Borders was still owned under a parent company (I think it was the Kmart parent company, and Barnes and Nobles was set up by, I think, the Sears holding company to be direct competition), Borders, Coopersmiths, and Waldenbooks were all part of the same group, which continued after Borders got out from under the holding company.

The competition with B&N is still there, and B&N I think is the parent company of B. Dalton.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:59 AM on September 18, 2009

A company I worked for had accounts with several appliance makers and when I tried to figure out who really made Kenmore appliances I got more than I bargained for. I knew Kenmore was Sears rebranding other appliances already, but it turns out there's a handful of manufacturers that make a multitude of appliance brands. Here's an article that breaks down who really makes what. If you prefer a handy chart, there's this one.

I don't think this is a case of "pretend competitors" as much as businesses preserving brand equity, or serving different market segments as people have said above.
posted by O9scar at 9:08 AM on September 18, 2009

Organic food in general comes to mind. Organic food is marketed to appear to be from small farms and small companies, when in reality most of the organic food companies are subsidiaries of the mega-brands. This is a good link that might provide specifics: http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2008/04/01/who-owns-your-favorite-organic-food-company/
posted by tybstar at 9:09 AM on September 18, 2009

Because people internalize brands and identify with them. A guy who likes Saturns isnt interested in a Cadillac, but they are the same brands and may even sell a car made on the exact same platform. Early marketers realized that the emotional part of the buyer is usually in charge and craft brands to address this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:12 AM on September 18, 2009

In almost any consumer industry, you'll see this kind of thing (multiple brands owned by a single entity). It doesn't immediately mean there's any kind of "pretend" anything going on, if by that you mean some kind of behind-the-scenes manipulation/collusion/mustache twirling. Usually these brands still compete with each other, and/or are meant to serve different markets.

For example- I don't know Future Shop, but I imagine they sell pretty much the same inventory as Best Buy, so that's probably a good one. The bajillion brands of Unilever/Anheuser Busch? Not so much- they're distinctly different products. Cascadian Farms is owned by General Mills, but they're still a niche (organic) brand.
posted by mkultra at 9:17 AM on September 18, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks folks. There are a lot of good examples here. The better ones for me are those where not many people are aware that the competing brands are owned by the same parent company, and where it would be difficult for a consumer to find this out on their own. I don't think I can mark best answers, because that is a bit subjective, but this has been helpful. Thanks.
posted by teg at 9:27 AM on September 18, 2009

TJ Maxx/Marshalls/AJ Wright seem indistinguishable to me (AJ Wright is a little downmarket I guess) and they're all owned by the same company.
posted by downing street memo at 9:29 AM on September 18, 2009

This may be slightly tangential to your question, but the linked table shows the limited number of manufacturers of washing machines and the huge diversity of brands which get stuck onto those appliances. For appliances where reliability may be a selling point, it is interesting to see that, say, Maytag appliances are made by six different companies, and that Maytag itself is owned by Whirlpool. That poor Maytag repairman, driven batty by every Maytag appliance looking so different on the inside.
posted by Rumple at 9:32 AM on September 18, 2009

On non preview: O9scar linked to the same chart.
posted by Rumple at 9:33 AM on September 18, 2009

There are only two companies that can legally make 'swiss army knives.' Except that they're actually one company.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:34 AM on September 18, 2009

Mattresses fall close to this - manufacturers will sell the same basic model to different stores, under different labels, as documented here.

Dell owns Alienware. Our company had bought Alienware's line of corporate BOT computers shortly before they were acquired - whereupon they immediately ceased selling them, due to competing with Dell's corporate sales. Their support became problematic at that point, too - they were unable to honor the 3-year warranty on one of our PCs because they no longer carried the parts for it.

Hasboro owns just about every major game & toy brand out there, except for Mattel - they own:

* Avalon Hill (an imprint of Wizards of the Coast, see below)
* Claster Television
* Coleco
* Galoob
* Kenner
* Maisto
* Milton Bradley
* Parker Brothers
* Playskool
* Selchow and Righter
* Tiger Electronics
* Tonka
* Wizards of the Coast
* Wrebbit

Most of this is targeting different markets (They bought Avalon Hill not for the products they produced, but to move their strategy games, like Axis & Allies, under the brand names), although they wound up using some of the old AH titles themselves.
posted by GJSchaller at 9:37 AM on September 18, 2009

Canadian Tire and Part Source have a fair bit of overlap in their product lines; the latter is owned by the former.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:41 AM on September 18, 2009

TJ Maxx and Marshall's are both owned by TJX Companies, along with several other similar stores.
posted by LolaGeek at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2009

The appliance rebranding thing happens with supermarket own-brand lines as well. Heinz (say) wants to sell more ketchup, but it also wants to sell expensive ketchup. So it sells a railcar or 20 of its ketchup to Safeway, who bottle it as Empress Ketchup (or whatever) and sell it alongside the Heinz, for 75% of the price. I know most people know this, but I suspect there are some out there who really do think Safeway has a ketchup factory somewhere. Multiple x 1000s of things in the supermarket.
posted by Rumple at 9:54 AM on September 18, 2009

Most "private label" (industry term) food products are produced at the same facility as the brand name. Generally what happens is that the brand-name producer contracts for a lower price in exchange for having a guaranteed quantity of sales, but doesn't put their own label on it to protect the pricing of their brand-labeled product (which is why such agreements are usually confidential).
posted by webhund at 9:54 AM on September 18, 2009

I didn't realize it until reading this post, but my beloved Steel Reserve 211 - which the label touts as "A PRODUCT OF THE STEEL BREWING COMPANY MILWAUKEE, WI" and has addresses varying from Milwaukee, WI to Longview, TX to Irwindale, CA - is in reality a product of the MillerCoors LLC joint venture.
posted by torquemaniac at 9:55 AM on September 18, 2009

Sunkist and Crush orange soda / Canada Dry and Schweppes tonic / Hires and IBC and A&W root beers / Diet Rite and RC Cola / 7-Up and Squirt are all owned by the same beverage group: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, formerly Cadbury Schweppes.

Scharffen Berger (positioned as a high end chocolate) is owned by Hershey's.
posted by sharkfu at 10:03 AM on September 18, 2009

Kraft and Nabisco. As in, Nabisco is now a subsidiary of Kraft.
posted by soelo at 10:08 AM on September 18, 2009

Many of the ticket brokers that sell Cubs tickets are actually owned by the Cubs.
posted by rbs at 10:13 AM on September 18, 2009

Also, Matchbox and Hot Wheels are both owned by Mattel.
posted by downing street memo at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2009

Ticketmaster and Ticketsnow.
posted by oceano at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2009

The Swatch Group owns the following watch brands: Breguet, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot, Tiffany & Co., Omega, Longines, Rado, Union Glashütte, Tissot, ck, Balmain, Certina, Mido, Hamilton, Swatch, Flik Flak, Endura and Tourbillon.

The marketing for the higher-end brands relies heavily on brand history. Especially for the prestige brands, (Breguet, Glashütte, Droz) they don't go out of their way to let you know who owns the company.
posted by Opposite George at 10:23 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Bristol, English Ovals, L&M, Merit, Parliament, and a lot of other cigarettes are owned by Altria Group. Likewise, they own many wines.

California Pizza Kitchen, DiGiorno pizza, Tombstone, and Jack's pizza are all owned by Kraft Foods. They also own Maxwell House coffee and Starbucks grocery store items (and Sanka). They also own Terry's Chocolate Orange and Toblerone. There are lots of other items, too.

Miller and Coors have been mentioned. Miller is now SABMiller. They sell a ridiculous number of beers from countries around the world. If you are trying to choose between two brands of beer at the grocery store, there are excellent odds that you are choosing between brands owned by SABMiller.

Bandolino, Easy Spirit, Evan-Picone, and Nine West are all women's shoe brands owned by Jones Apparel Group. They also own Kasper and Le Suit, which are women's suit brands; Anne Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, l.e.i., and many other women's apparel brands.

Neutrogena and Clean & Clear are facial-cleansing brands owned by Johnson & Johnson.

Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Mug Root Beer, Slice, 7 Up (outside the US) are all brands owned by PepsiCo. They also own Aquafina and Propel Fitness Water; they own all Frito-Lay brands (Doritos, Fridos, Funyuns, Lay's); and they own all Quaker Oats brands (Cap'n Crunch, King Vitaman, Life cereals).
posted by Houstonian at 10:26 AM on September 18, 2009

Not a specific example, but I found this image to be a very interesting look at the different corporate ownerships and partnerships out there. Most are pretty obvious, but there's a few surprising examples as well.
posted by KilgoreTrout at 11:03 AM on September 18, 2009

Canadian cellphone companies are the obvious example of this.
Bell & Solo & Virgin Mobile
Rogers & Fido
Telus & Koodo
posted by metaname at 11:16 AM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Smuckers makes Adams, Goober PB&J, and Jif!

They also own After the Fall, RW Knudsens, and Santa Cruz Organics juice brands.
posted by vespabelle at 11:31 AM on September 18, 2009

Some power tool companies were mentioned above. In some cases, it's sort of like a car brand thing, though not as openly. For example, Techtronic, the company that owns Milwaukee brand power tools also makes the cheaper Ryobi brand tools.

Or in some cases, things like the Craftsman rotary tools are made by the company that provides the most obvious competition, Dremel.

Some craftsman tools used to be made by competitor Stanley.
posted by drezdn at 11:33 AM on September 18, 2009

Democrats and Republicans?

I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm serious. They're offering very different ideological "branding" and they're definitely in competition, but ultimately it's the same corporate entities pulling the strings on either side.
posted by Naberius at 11:33 AM on September 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Barnes and Noble owns B. Dalton, but wasn't owned by another company.
posted by drezdn at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2009

Budget and Avis car rentals (http://www.avisbudgetgroup.com/)

I can't figure out a brand-differentiation strategy there if there is one. I think there are a few other car rental companies that are like this.
posted by L'homme armé at 12:17 PM on September 18, 2009

Response by poster: No, I'm not just looking for examples where the alter ego was created from scratch. Buyouts would count too, as long as there seems to be an effort to make them look like they came from different companies. (That table of appliance manufacturers and brand names has just blown my mind!)
posted by teg at 12:23 PM on September 18, 2009

Hotels are another place where the brand names and ultimate Corporate ownership is not always easy to figure out, and often the same corporation is competing against itself in a single location.
posted by soelo at 2:22 PM on September 18, 2009

The Aldo Groupe usually has several shoe stores in a mall, you'd have no idea they were from the same company.
posted by lowlife at 5:12 PM on September 18, 2009

Chapters - Indigo - Coles (Book stores)

Orange Julius - Dairy Queen (In Canada at least)

Wendy's - Tim Horton's
posted by blue_beetle at 7:21 PM on September 18, 2009

Pastabagel writes "Black and Decker, DeWalt, and Porter-Cable tools are all made by B&D"

These don't really compete; there is an obvious step up in quality and price as you go up the chain from B&D to DeWalt to Porter Cable. Many PC tool types aren't even available from B&D and Vice Versa.

SnapOn owns Blue Point, JH Williams, Bahco, Sandvik, and makes hand tools for Lowes under the private label Kobalt.

Stanley owns Proto and Mac and makes tools for Home Depot's house brand Husky. Many of the Proto/Husky tools are identical in appearance. They also provide the Mastercraft Maximum product line for Canadian Tire.

Most other house brands in the US and Canada (including Mastercraft and Craftsman since the mid 90s) and MatCo are made by Danaher who has annual revenue in the same ball park as Stanley. Not bad for a company you've never heard of eh?

Danaher and Stanley also supply those truely horrible hand tool sets you see at places like harbour freight and flea markets.

Many of these brands are market specific like B&D stuff (Proto is now a super high buck industrial supplier for example) but much of Danaher's product directly competes with itself in different stores with different names.
posted by Mitheral at 7:33 PM on September 18, 2009

I used to work at Channel [V] International (owned by Star TV Asia), which had a semi-serious rivalry with MTV Asia. Channel [V] would never air anything with MTV branding, and the two were very competitive with their programming. I was amused to find a chart about Rupert Murdoch's media reach that showed that MTV and Channel [V] had the same ownership a few levels up.
posted by divabat at 8:02 PM on September 18, 2009

I want to reiterate the Luxottica example, because that Metafilter thread in which it was exposed made a big difference for me. Lenscrafters, Pearle, Sears Optical, Target Optical, etc. all being owned by the same company threw me for a loop. They aren't in different markets, like the Gap clothing brands. They're all selling the exact same thing, and having these fake sales to lure people in.
posted by Danila at 8:46 PM on September 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Kerr and Ball, basically the only major canning brands, are owned by the same company.
posted by peep at 10:11 PM on September 18, 2009

Working for a clothing/shoes company in Australia, they even had a poster in the back room breaking down each company's demographics. Williams sold cheaper, more plastic shoes for younger demographics, if those shoes were uncomfortable - as they were after any length of time - then Mathers was more expensive, $80-100, comfortable shoes for the 30-50 age bracket. Slightly more expensive than that was Diana Ferrari which was bought out and catered to the young professional set. I imagine it'd always be pretty easy to find this out for publicly traded companies as it'd need to be declared.
posted by quercus23 at 10:24 PM on September 18, 2009

For a time in the 1990s, Allen&Heath and Soundcraft were owned by Harman (owner of JBL); but then most people who were interested in sound mixers knew that.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:37 PM on September 18, 2009

Kmart and Target in Australia are owned by Wesfarmers.

They are pretty much the only players in the discount department store game.

I had NO idea they were owned by the same parent. Most people are still surprised to hear it.
posted by trialex at 4:43 AM on September 19, 2009

There are quite a few in the food and beverages market, although it's more products than companies. Fanta, Sprite, Coke and Minute Maid are all owned by the Coca Cola company. So the drink choice in McDonalds isn't really a choice.
Then Mars (previously Masterfoods) owns Mars, Snickers, M&M's, 3 Musketeers, Bounty and Twix. Also, the Wringley Company is a subsidiary of Mars, so not a direct competitor, but still same-ish market.

More directly related to your question is the wonderful company LVMH. They own EVERYTHING in fashion: Louis Vuitton, Fendi, TAG Heuer, Kenzo, Givenchy, Guerlain and quite a lot of others. And the CEO of LVMH is also the CEO of the Christian Dior group. So fashion is as incestuous as you would expect.
posted by litleozy at 6:12 AM on September 19, 2009

Winnebago, in addition to their own line, also makes Itasca and Era RVs.

Airstream is owned by Thor Industries, which makes eight other lines of RVs. Don't know how many of these were created vs acquired, if they serve different markets, etc.
posted by adamrice at 6:14 AM on September 19, 2009

Deluxe manufactures and distributes just about every major skateboard brand.
posted by pianomover at 8:28 AM on September 19, 2009

Oh, duh, I forgot. It's rampant in the ski industry:

Salomon, Atomic and Volant -- owned by Amer Sports
Head and Tyrolia -- both owned by Head
Nordica and Tecnica -- both owned by the Tecnica group.
Dynastar, Rossignol, LOOK (bindings), Lange (boots) -- all owned by Rossignol
K2, Voelkl, Marker (bindings), LINE -- all owned by K2 (which is in turn owned by Jarden.)

K2 also makes snowboards under the K2, Voelkl, Ride, Morrow, 5150 and Liquid brands.

These are mostly due to buyouts. Note most ski brands have lines covering the gamut from beginner to expert plus racing, so these brands do "compete" in some segment at least.

They also "compete" in the sports sense; you'll see Salomon and Atomic racing against each other on the World Cup circuit. Same for Dynastar and Rossignol, and K2 and Voelkl.
posted by Opposite George at 8:42 PM on September 20, 2009

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