Genuine and Genuine Fakes

Where do you stand on buying a fake brand?

Well the answer is a no brainer really. Those of us in the business of building brands are horrified by the ever-growing masses of ‘rip off’ brands that are out there. When a small business has to employ someone to monitor and eradicate fake products being sold around the world, it’s a sad state of affairs.

As many people will have seen, Turkey’s tourist areas are home to a massive brand rip off industry. The traders proudly advertise ‘genuine’ and ‘genuine fakes’ which actually differentiates between really well made rip offs and their poor counterparts. Because of the level of the activity, it could be argued that there is unlikely to be a loss of sales for the originals but surely it must damage the brands.

At the risk of being cruel, Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts that on 5th Avenue are modeled on sculptured, buff torsos, do not have the same appeal when stretched over a beer belly and are complemented by homemade tattoos.

There is nothing hidden or under the counter about fake brand retailing in Turkey, it is open, unashamed and treated with a degree of humour by all but the discerning brand lover.

It’s easy to avoid the badly made copies, shoved in your face with a three for ten pounds offer but it’s less easy to resist when coupled with sales skills that would have Mary Portas impressed. A glass of water, a coffee, or a beer, a comfortable seat and a charming assistant, coupled with extremely well made products skillfully sold to you, makes it hard to stick to your principles.

Some might believe that the big brands with their expensive labels and huge margins, have got it coming to them but you have to spare a thought for the smaller businesses whose brands are being copied, that can neither fight it nor brush it off. Basically, I see it as ‘genuine’ theft – don’t you agree?