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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2019

Abhishek Pathak, Carlos Velasco and Gemma Anne Calvert

Counterfeiting is a menace in the emerging markets and many successful brands are falling prey to it. Counterfeit brands not only deceive consumers but also fuel a demand…

Abstract

Purpose

Counterfeiting is a menace in the emerging markets and many successful brands are falling prey to it. Counterfeit brands not only deceive consumers but also fuel a demand for lower priced replicas, both of which can devalue the bona-fide brand. But can consumers accurately identify a counterfeit logo? This paper aims to explore this question and examines the accuracy and speed with which a consumer can identify a counterfeit (vs original) logo.

Design/methodology/approach

Seven popular brand logos were altered by transposing and substituting the first and last letters of the logotypes. Consumers then classified the logos as counterfeit (vs original) across two experiments.

Findings

Participants were faster and more accurate in identifying a counterfeit logo when the first letter (vs last letter) of a logotype was manipulated, thus revealing last letter manipulations of a brand’s logotype to be more deceptive.

Research limitations/implications

This paper comments only on the manipulation of logotypes but not of logo symbols. Similarly, findings may not be generalizable across languages which are read from right to left.

Practical implications

Counterfeit trade is already a multibillion dollar industry. Understanding the key perceptual differentiators between a counterfeit (vs original) logo can be insightful for both consumers and firms alike.

Originality/value

Research available on objective measures of similarities (vs dissimilarities) between counterfeit (vs original) brand logos is limited. This paper contributes by examining the ability of consumers to discriminate between counterfeit (vs original) logos at different levels of visual similarity.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 53 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 May 2019

Abhishek Pathak, Carlos Velasco and Gemma Anne Calvert

With trade amounting to more than US$400bn, counterfeiting is already affecting many successful brands. Often, consumers are deceived into buying fake products due to the…

Abstract

Purpose

With trade amounting to more than US$400bn, counterfeiting is already affecting many successful brands. Often, consumers are deceived into buying fake products due to the visual similarity between fake and original brand logos. This paper aims to explore the varying forms of fraudulent imitation of original brand logotypes (operationalized at the level of logotype transposition), which can aid in the detection of a counterfeit brand.

Design/methodology/approach

Across two studies, this research tested how well consumers can differentiate counterfeit from original logos of well-known brands both explicitly and implicitly. Seven popular brand logos were altered to create different levels of visual dissimilarity and participants were required to discriminate the logos as fake or genuine.

Findings

Results demonstrate that although consumers can explicitly discriminate fake logos with a high degree of accuracy, the same is not true under conditions in which logos are presented very briefly (tapping participants’ implicit or automatic logo recognition capabilities), except when the first and last letters of the logotype are substituted.

Originality/value

A large body of research on counterfeit trade focuses on the individual or cross-cultural differences behind the prevalence of counterfeit trade. There is limited research exploring the ability of a consumer to correctly identify a fake logo, based on its varying similarity with the original logotype; this paper addresses this gap. Given that many of the purchase decisions are often made automatically, identifying key implicit differentiators that can help a consumer recognize a fake logo should be informative to both practitioners and academics.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

Keywords

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