« Brand Loyalty | Main | Freedom from Expression »

Don't Copy the Cops

Counterfeiters target particular brands on the basis of consumer demand.  The greater the brand awareness and the popularity of certain styles, the more likely they are to be copied.  Of course, the reverse is true as well.  As one individual told me, he knew a certain line was "over" when purse party hostesses asked him not to bother bringing along those particular fakes.

When it comes to imitating official logos, however, I've frequently wondered whether it's just business, or whether some counterfeiters take wry pleasure in taunting the powers that be.  After all, it takes a particularly brazen retailer to sell fake NYPD baseball caps and T-shirts right under the nose of the beat cop.  Talk about waving a red flag in front of a "bull."

In New York, city officials decided last year to fight the flood of fakes with hologram hangtags on authentic goods.  A year later, the New York Post reports that sales of the real deal are up 10%, with police and fire department merchandise remaining the most popular. 

Cause and effect?  Perhaps.  But it seems that not everyone got the memo.  A law-abiding lawyer recently told me that he attempted to purchase an authentic item, only to be told by a helpful city employee that it was unavailable -- but that plenty of copies were for sale just around the corner.