Educational and

Many brands and associations recognize the value of awareness campaigns. Depending on their category of goods, they look for ways to engage and inform the public and business sectors on the dangers of counterfeits.

This year, from November 16th-20th Underwriters Laboratories (UL) will continue their “Be Safe, Buy Real” campaign to raise awareness of the health, safety and economic consequences caused by the crime of counterfeiting in recognition of World Anti-Counterfeiting Week.

A few participants in the UL campaign share with us their “why” in choosing to be involved in this campaign and in awareness campaigns generally.

Why do you feel it’s important for brand associations to participate in awareness education campaigns generally?

Organizations that engage in awareness campaigns prove they are thought leaders and are conscious of their corporate social responsibility. Educating the public demonstrates a genuine concern for the safety and welfare of employees and consumers. These actions prove to stakeholders and society that the organization is aware of the impact they are having on all aspects of their community.

Brett Brenner
President, Electrical Safety Foundation International

It is essential for industry associations like ICCE (Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa) to create awareness amongst consumers, resellers of products and government agencies to build a consensus and joint effort in the fight against the counterfeiters. Many counterfeit operations fund organized crime groups, which also run other illegal activities such as people and drug smuggling, tax evasion and slavery. Counterfeit consumables, even print cartridges, toners and ribbons, can be harmful to the people who buy them and they can damage expensive printing equipment. Our awareness campaigns are vital to ensure that consumers, resellers and government agencies are all aware of the dangers that counterfeit goods pose so that they understand the risks and know how to identify potentially fake products in the supply chain. Only when we combine our efforts do we make real inroads into tackling this harmful and criminal activity.

Andrew Gardner
Worldwide Brand Protection Manager, Lexmark International, Inc.
and Board Member, ICCE

How is your association participating specifically in the UL “Be Safe, Buy Real” Campaign?

ESFI is conducting a two-week promotion, which includes a countdown leading up to the campaign and sharing materials we co-branded with UL. ESFI creates unique awareness and educational resources, including our Zero Tolerance Counterfeits program designed to meet the diverse needs of a variety of at-risk groups. Eliminating counterfeit electrical products from the electrical supply chain requires a collaborative effort to advance awareness among the public and industry stakeholders, so we are pleased to be a part of this campaign.

Brett Brenner
President, Electrical Safety Foundation International

ICCE is pleased to participate in the “Be Safe, Buy Real” campaign by providing information to the campaign and supporting it through its own social media channels. ICCE has been publishing a number of articles over the last year relating to the dangers of Internet shopping. We have also been calling for the introduction of a “know your customer” obligation to be placed on online intermediaries and ISPs. Consumer confidence on the Internet is being undermined by the sale of counterfeit and unsafe products on-line and action is needed to re-build trust in on-line platforms and marketplaces to avoid harming the economy and putting jobs at risk. ICCE is also working with UL on creating greater awareness amongst government procurement departments about the dangers of purchasing counterfeit product and how to protect themselves and their equipment.

Andrew Gardner
Worldwide Brand Protection Manager, Lexmark International, Inc.
and Board Member, ICCE



United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) have launched a new anti-counterfeiting public education campaign, GoForReal. The campaign is aimed at tweens and teens and ties in the intellectual property community and law enforcement. It aims to increase the desire to buy genuine goods, raise awareness of the damage caused by counterfeits, change attitudes, and change counterfeit buying behaviors by educating young consumers on how to identify and avoid counterfeit goods. Hoping to develop–particularly while young–a desire to make smart buying decisions and buy legitimate goods.

This campaign includes radio, social media, print, and also out-of-home ads for parents who–once informed–can be powerful influencers. The campaign also features the online, Go for Real Challenge which is an interactive game that allows players to identify which from a list of items are the shoddy ingredients often found in popular counterfeit products. The messaging of the resources directs young consumers’ attention to the dangers associated with fake electronics, personal care products, and sports gear.

“Consumers often believe counterfeit goods perform the same as authentic goods,” said NCPC President and CEO Ann Harkins. “What they may not realize is that the unregulated materials in counterfeits–overworked batteries, urine, lead–can cause fires, diseases, or even death. Fake electronics alone cause 70 fatalities and 350,000 serious injuries every year.”

USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks David Gooder remarked

“Counterfeiters put the health, safety, and security of consumers at risk and knowingly damage and steal from valuable brands. As technology advances, so does the sophistication of counterfeit goods and virtually no industry is immune. It’s critical to help young teenagers and their parents understand that counterfeiting is not a victimless crime.”

Building on the assets USPTO and NCPC released in November, the new ads mirror the findings NCPC and its research partner, Ipsos, collected from in-depth studies conducted last fall. Hands-on youth testing workshops also played a major role in shaping the new Campaign messaging and imagery.

Also see The Bulletin for a new website tool by the USPTO