Brand Police : social pressure could be the ‘vigilante justice’

There’s a great article in the Sports section today (Globe and Mail, Nov 5/11) about counterfeit goods. The scourge of copy cat jerseys has spread to that hotbed of Canadian commerce, hockey jerseys. 

Team Canada - real vs fake

After seriously impacting the bottom of line of official merchandise retail in the other bigs leagues, it seems that the Asian manufacturing and complex distribution channels have latched on to the NHL. It’s a small league in comparison to other massive governing bodies, but the highly profitably fan gear is enough to draw the imitators. 

There is some discussion about enforcement not being high on the list due to a complex storm of jurisdiction, international intellectual property law and inability to find the actual sources. What is intriguing to me is how the league and teams are trying to figure out how to dissuade fans from buying these knock offs at 90% below the retail price. A fan is quoted as saying that the fakes are the jerseys he wears when he eats chicken wings, so the actual goods are too cherished sporting (reminds me of mint Star Wars toys that are never to be played with).

If Dan Ariely has educated us on the internal cost of wearing fake goods through some interesting experiments. It turns out ‘fake’ is a state of mind. Not unlike self imposed tax for knowing your are presenting a false front. I think this could be the seed for the NHL to turn the tide against counterfeits. Get the fans, the dedicated fans who know all the details already, to help other fans become ‘real fans’ meaning they only sport the real gear. 

Or, just be happy that you managed to get a Bieksa jersey off Craigslist for a few bucks when all official retail items would have cost 5 times the price if they had it in stock at all.