WASHINGTON — The International Trademark Association, a group comprised of major fashion and consumer product brands, launched an anticounterfeiting campaign at its annual meeting here Tuesday to raise awareness among teens about the negative impact counterfeits have on the global economy and on brand owners, as well as the potential dangers to consumers’ health.
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The INTA’s new campaign, dubbed “Unreal,” plans to emphasize social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to reach a target audience of 14- to 18-year-olds. It will also utilize traditional media and special events to educate teens about the negative consequences of counterfeiting.
“Many people, especially young people, don’t really understand the impact of counterfeiting both on themselves as consumers, on the economy and on the brand owners,” said Gregg Marrazzo, president of INTA and senior vice president and deputy general counsel of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “There is an economic aspect to this, as well as a safety aspect.”
Although there are no exact numbers of the total losses to trademark owners, the most recent number available in an Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development report covering 2008 to 2009 estimated the loss at $650 billion. That estimate only focused on cross-border sales of counterfeits and did not include online sales of counterfeits or in-country sales of bogus goods.
The campaign will include videos of teens sharing real-life examples of counterfeit purchases and how they were affected, development and educational material, and visits to shopping malls to inform consumers about the potential harms of counterfeits.
The INTA kicked off the outreach at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center here, inviting 100 area high school students to a discussion on counterfeiting with executives from Estée Lauder, NBA Properties, Chanel Inc. and the U.S. National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, in addition to a tour of the exhibition hall where a sample of real products was on display with fake products.
Alan Drewsen, executive director of INTA, said the campaign will be launched in two educational tiers: the first will highlight the low quality and unreliability of counterfeits and the second will focus on the severe consequences of counterfeiting, which can involve child labor, links to organized crime and severe negative health impacts.
“We see a tremendous opportunity for INTA to arm teens with as much information about the economic, social and health risks involved with counterfeiting as possible,” said Drewsen. “It is our hope that this information will influence their decision the next time they are approached by a site or vendor selling counterfeit goods.”