Fighting fakes or fighting people?

The Scottish government has unveiled another round of tender for anti-counterfeit technologies. It is especially interesting that required solution targets rather customer behaviour than fakes sellers.  It is assumed that clients buy fakes intentionally. It is a de facto breakthrough because the principle of customer protection is left. The Scottish government tries to protect manufacturers against those citizens who seek to purchase counterfeited products.

A lot of questions arise. Not long ago, a BBC commentary asked if taxpayers should cover anti-counterfeit activities. It would be more logical to put this entire area under civil suits. If a manufacturer claims it has been impacted, it can demand compensation from fakes producers and sellers. Criminal police should not spend their time on it.

The second question asks what motivates people to buy fakes. There are some studies of factors that discourage from purchasing counterfeited goods. But we know almost nothing about motivators. If a florist carries a handbag for 10 000 USD, almost nobody believes that it is genuine. And if some people thought the bag was authentic, it would be somewhat troubling for the owner because she could be suspected from involvement into organised crime or other bad behaviours.

The third. What is the real impact of counterfeiting on brand manufacturers? Studies that have been published estimate yearly impact in order of hundreds of billion dollars. Experience of our customer confirms that protection elements application usually leads to revenue growth by tens of percents. However, other markets are much more complicated than alcohol.  It is not always true that a customer is opting between genuine product and cheaper fake. Let us look at a hypothetical customer who considers a purchase of luxury watches. He likes Rolex for 20 000 USD, but he can spend only 15 000 USD. This customer most likely will not buy a fake Rolex, but he would instead prefer a bit cheaper genuine watches. False Rolex is intentionally purchased mostly by people who would never even consider buying real Rolex.

Fourth. What is the impact of counterfeiting on brand value, and under what conditions? It has been traditionally believed that falsifying damage brand because it is difficult for customers to differentiate between genuine products and low-quality fake. However, in some cases it is clear. CEO´s watches are likely original Rolex, warehouser watches are probably fake. If millions of people express „if I could afford it, I would be this luxury brand“, it is great advertising, completely free.

Sixth. It is essential to understand the border between segments of intentional fakes purchasing and segment where customers don’t want to buy fakes. The second area includes most drugs, food, toys, critical machine parts and other products where customers want a guarantee of keeping health standards and other parameters.

Seventh. Is it wise to continue with the innumerable lawsuit? Isn’t better to apply a generous attitude, such as Ferrari does? If you put Ferrari sign on your Renault, the Maranello company will not go after you.

Perhaps it would make sense it premier brand producers concentrated on solution segments where customers are on their side. The right strategy: Add a strong protection element and trust your customers.


Optaglio helps through its products and services that include:

Continuous innovation and technological development to keep advantage against counterfeiters.

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