By Trevor Little
May 08 2012
Today saw the official launch on INTA’s Unreal campaign, which aims to educate teens about the value of trademarks and the negative effects of counterfeiting. The campaign follows a collaboration with AMP agency, which specialises in marketing to teens, to understand the thinking of the target age group and drew on a series of focus groups which took place in New York and Boston. Alan Drewsen, INTA executive director, explains: “We learnt that teenagers don’t know a lot about counterfeiting but also that they were fairly socially conscious, and once they understand the implications of counterfeiting they feel less inclined to buy fake goods.”
The programme will therefore utilise social media, traditional media and events (including High School visits) to raise awareness of the issues surrounding counterfeits - a multi-year initiative, it will commence in the US, with a future international rollout planned.
At a time when anti-IP sentiment is notable in the debate over online piracy, Gregg Marrazzo, 2012 INTA President and senior vice president and deputy general counsel of The Estée Lauder Companies, identifies the need to inform the discussion on counterfeiting and educate tomorrow’s consumer about the true importance of trademarks: “Many people, especially young people, don’t really understand the impact counterfeiting has – on themselves, the economy and brand owners. We are properly placed to communicate this so people understand the issues involve. Teenagers are the next generation of purchasers - even now they have considerable purchasing power – and they look to the internet in great numbers, to buy clothes, movies and music, and to communicate by Facebook. We want to arm them with information. We don’t want kids to be hit over the head with this but rather to understand the issues and be able to discern what is real and what is fake.”
Noting the use of social media by the target demographic, online activity is central to the campaign, with Drewsen explaining that subsequent peer-to-peer communication will be key: “We found that teens found celebrity endorsements to be somewhat phony as they know they can afford to buy what they want – they are actually more influenced by their parents than celebrities. But clearly, the most effective communication was peer-to-peer and we plan to communicate peer-led stories to show the harm counterfeiting can do.”
When asked by WTR how success will be measured, Drewsen expanded: “The more we get the word out, and the more we engage teens, that is how we will measure success. At its fullest we won’t be able to prove it physically reduced counterfeit purchasing so we will measure success in engagement.”
To mark the launch, INTA is today hosting a visit of 100 local teens, who will be informed about counterfeiting, as well as potential career paths in the intellectual property world. As they visit the exhibition hall today, be sure to make a great impression – if they decide a trademark career is for them, they may soon be your bosses!
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