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    June 25, 2009

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    Matt Daniels

    A slightly tangential/random comment: sometime ago in my Business Strategy class, I spent over 45 minutes debating with the prof about knock-off purses.

    The prof was vehemently opposed to such counterfeits. Her argument was that such counterfeits diluted the brand, not only by being sold on the alleys of Canal street, but also by being fashioned by the latest redneck visiting New York from West Virginia (no offense, West Virginia).

    I disagreed, fundamentally, on the same grounds that you're opposed to Chanel's letter. The fact that the purses are knocked-off and plastered on Canal street enhances the brand (i.e., brands would love to be in this position). And to your point, people that can afford the real thing will do just that, while to frugal middle class are attracted to the version from China.

    But fake purses are a step further than Chanel on jacket, potentially displacing sales of the real thing. What do you think?

    amber finlay

    Hmm...it's tough, because with actual counterfeit goods, there are issues that dilute the brand, but not because their logo is in more places. I think that the perception of their quality goes down if there are a lot of fakes floating around, and also it seems more accessible (which is usually not what luxury brands are after, I think). Also there's the issue of how counterfeit goods are made - working conditions and so forth. I think Louis Vuitton sets a good example by being incredibly proactive in prosecuting purveyors of counterfeit goods.

    But, there's a huge difference between actual fake goods being created and sold with your brand name on them, and your brand name being used as a benchmark for comparison in upscale publications. They chose to place that ad in WWD - where fashion editors would see it, not counterfeiters. To me, these are two different issues - being used to describe things influenced by you, and going after people who are actually making money off your brand name.

    I just think that if you work so hard to become iconic, you have to expect that people will compare things to your brand.

    amber finlay

    Hmm...it's tough, because with actual counterfeit goods, there are issues that dilute the brand, but not because their logo is in more places. I think that the perception of their quality goes down if there are a lot of fakes floating around, and also it seems more accessible (which is usually not what luxury brands are after, I think). Also there's the issue of how counterfeit goods are made - working conditions and so forth. I think Louis Vuitton sets a good example by being incredibly proactive in prosecuting purveyors of counterfeit goods.

    But, there's a huge difference between actual fake goods being created and sold with your brand name on them, and your brand name being used as a benchmark for comparison in upscale publications. They chose to place that ad in WWD - where fashion editors would see it, not counterfeiters. To me, these are two different issues - being used to describe things influenced by you, and going after people who are actually making money off your brand name.

    I just think that if you work so hard to become iconic, you have to expect that people will compare things to your brand.

    David

    I'm reminded of this youtube video. Obviously you want to keep competitive companies from using your name, but when you become a household word with connotations of high quality, every mention of your brand only builds it up.

    Jimmy Gilmore

    All good points. But I think the concern is if their name becomes a commonplace vernacular they loose control of the word. Like Xerox became commonplace for copy. This a serious issue with big brands. You can read more about it here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genericized_trademark

    louis

    Yes, when you become a household word with connotations of high quality, every mention of your brand only builds it up.

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    tumbled

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