Do counterfeit products help or hurt brands?

Do counterfeit products help or hurt brands?Fake luxury goods such as a Prada purse can fail,


leading consumers to crave the real thing.
An article in Slate says that fakes might not be bad for high-end brands.

When most people think about the effect of counterfeits on legitimate brandsand when brands themselves litigate against counterfeitersthey focus on the "business stealing" effect: Every fake Prada handbag represents a lost sale for Prada. But a dirty little secret is that Prada rip-offs can also function as free advertising for real Prada handbagspartly by signaling the brand’s popularity, but, less obviously, by creating what MIT marketing professor Renee Richardson Gosline has described as a "gateway" product. For her doctoral thesis, Gosline immersed herself in the counterfeit "purse parties" of upper-middle-class moms. She found that her subjects formed attachments to their phony Vuittons and came to crave the real thing when, inevitably, they found the stitches falling apart on their cheap knockoffs. Within a couple of years, more than half of the womenmany of whom had never fancied themselves consumers of $1,300 pursesabandoned their counterfeits for authentic items.

The Highest Form of Flattery. Do knockoff Prada bags hurt Pradaor help the company sell more of the real thing? Slate>>

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