Merlin Entertainments has taken the unprecedented step of starting legal action against a new London attraction which it believes is an attempt to copy its own London Dungeon attraction.
Merlin believes that the London Bridge Experience is transparently designed to mirror the London Dungeon’s concept and marketing positioning. Its location, just yards from the London Dungeon, compounded by its copycat marketing literature and promotional activity, are, Merlin feels, deliberately intended to confuse visitors and to unlawfully trade off the high quality, goodwill and reputation of Merlin’s own long established attraction.
The legal action is also aimed at putting a stop to misleading and deceptive statements to, and interference with, visitors in the London Dungeon queue intended to divert them away from the Dungeon to the inferior attraction.
Commenting, David Sharpe, Merlin’s Divisional Director, London, said: “Merlin has invested massive resources in creating the Dungeon concept over many years, and has built an enviable reputation for the brand, particularly amongst teens – a positioning which is quite unique globally.
We also invest significant resources to continually update the London Dungeon, to ensure both its quality and that it delivers very high levels of customer satisfaction. We will therefore fiercely protect the goodwill in the London Dungeon brand, particularly from such blatantly parasitic behaviour.”
While the historical period covered by the London Bridge Experience is in some respects different to that covered by the London Dungeon, it looks to mirror the Dungeon concept in practically every other way – right down to its marketing and promotional materials. Merlin has considerable evidence that some visitors have been confused into thinking that the two attractions are related or even the same, something which is potentially extremely damaging to the London Dungeon brand, given the materially different quality of the two attractions.
This effect could be compounded over coming weeks by the success of Merlin’s overseas marketing activity, and the consequent number of tourists wishing to visit the London Dungeon, for whom the likelihood of confusion is even greater.
Concluding Sharpe said: “While we believe in fair competition, the type of illegal activity we have seen from the London Bridge Experience is totally unacceptable, and is not something we will tolerate. Our proposal for a consensual resolution having been rejected, we have no alternative but to put a stop to this behaviour through formal legal channels in order to protect the London Dungeon brand.”