Tom Vanderbilt, a New York City-based writer on architecture, design, technology, science and other topics, was strolling down on side street off the Djemma al Fna square in Marrakech, when this design mutation caught his eye.
The packages of "Crust" toothpaste instantly triggered boyhood memories of the sardonic illustration of real product designs, Wacky Packages.
He details his experience on Design Observer:
But questions swirled like dust: Why had this one-time Wacky Package, decades after the fact, landed in North Africa (I would later learn you can buy Crust in Libya as well) as a knockoff? Who was behind this strange bit of design deception, and, more importantly, did they not realize the negative connotations of their word choice? (Of course, Crist might not play so well in those markets either.) And yet perhaps that negative connotation was lost anyway on consumers for whom English would be a second language, if that — but in that case, what connotation was there to begin with?
Were the bootleggers playing off of a commanding market share of Crest Toothpaste in the Moroccan market? Had Procter and Gamble succeeded in imbuing Crest with sufficient prestige and glamour to necessitate an imitator?
I was standing at the funhouse-mirror-lined vortices of the global economy: The Knockoff Zone.