Genuine fake brands – Turkish copyright infringement in volume

06Aug08

I was struck by two brand related thoughts while on holiday in Turkey. The first relates to the wide availability of fake branded goods in markets and high street shops. With EU membership just around the corner for Turkey, I was a little surprised by the high level of rip-off products being openly sold.

The most common items available were:
- Couture clothing (fashion labels included D&G, Calvin Klein, Armani)
- Luxury watches (Rolex, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Omega)
- Fine fragrances (perfume/aftershave from D&G, Hugo Boss, Versace, Calvin Klein)
- Bags and Belts (Gucci, Prada, D&G, Chloe)
- Sunglasses (Gucci, Dior, Armani)
- DVD (latest cinema releases, such as Dark Knight, Wall-E, Mamma Mia, Sex in the City, Kung Fu Panda. Some appeared to have been recorded on a camcorder in a Turkish cinema, while others were presumably ripped copies from original DVD’s).

One of the interesting points was how some of the fake products were tiered by quality and price. For example, you could pick up a cheap battery powered watch branded Rolex for 5 to 10 Euro. Another, designed to look like an actual Rolex, might be 20-50 Euro. While at the premium end of the fake scale, a fully automotic copy, which didn’t use precious metals or gems, but which functioned and appeared genuine under fairly close scrutiny would cost perhaps 90-110 Euro. The fake market was actually meeting the demands of consumers prepared to pay against a scale of different price points in order to obtain differing levels of quality and function in their rip-off premium brands.

Here are a few example snaps of some of the products on display:

Fake branded bags

Fake branded bags

fake branded sunglasses

fake branded sunglasses

fake branded watches

fake branded watches

Fake DVD\'s

Fake DVD's

Fake Nintendo DS games

Fake Nintendo DS games

In the case of the Nintendo DS games, these were sold as individual games, just as usual, or as cartridges containing multiple games. The multiple game cartridges typically contained collections of between 6 and 62 games. These sold for 25 to 90 Euro and were demonstrated on DS as English language or multi-lingual versions of each game.

All the fakes failed to offer the full quality or function of the genuine products – except for the DS games which worked just as well as the authentic cartridges. No-doubt a significant concern for Nintendo.
There were also games offered on the Wii format and some for PSP.

It might appear more tempting to consumers to buy fake brands of higher quality, such as the automatic watches or multiple game cartridges for the Nintendo DS, than some of the the other goods. But the most popular items purchased appeared to be the bags and clothing. These were very cheap, brashly printed with premium name and logo branding, and of variable quality.

Taste and quality apparently may not win over the desire to spot a bargain which shouts loudly about itself.

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