Published November 13, 2023

New York, New York—November 11, 2023—The International Trademark Association (INTA) has launched its inaugural Unreal Campaign Week. Combining in-person student presentations with a robust Instagram campaign, Unreal Campaign Week is designed to spread the campaign’s core message—about the harms of counterfeiting—to young consumers ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The Unreal Campaign is the Association’s consumer awareness initiative to educate those aged 14 to 23 about the importance of trademarks and brands and the dangers of purchasing counterfeit products. The campaign, led by INTA member volunteers, directly engages this audience through illustrative, relatable presentations, largely delivered at schools, colleges, and youth-oriented events, and via social media.

Since its launch just over a decade ago, Unreal Campaign volunteers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the dangers of counterfeiting, directly engaging more than 88,500 students around the globe through more than 560 presentations.

Counterfeit goods rely on the intellectual property of brands that consumers know and trust. Counterfeit merchandise often fools unsuspecting consumers into purchasing products that may be sub-par in quality or contain dangerous ingredients, or whose sale may ultimately fund criminal activities. The key aim of Unreal Campaign Week is to raise awareness about counterfeits to better inform and help protect consumers.

INTA is intentionally launching Unreal Campaign Week today, November 11, as this is Singles’ Day in China, a holiday that sees consumers spend billions of dollars on e-commerce purchases. Unreal Campaign Week is also timed to correspond with other large shopping events such as Black Friday and Christmas, as the sale of counterfeit goods increases at this time of year.

The holiday season brings a huge increase in retail sales globally. But with this boom in holiday retail sales, there also comes a rise in the sale of counterfeit goods.

Many consumers turn to e-commerce platforms for their efficiency and simplicity, but counterfeiters follow the shoppers online. Counterfeit products can be much more difficult to spot online than in brick-and-mortar stores where shoppers can closely examine the product before they purchase. Unreal Campaign Week is focused on sharing information with consumers to better help them spot fake merchandise and fake websites.

In 2019, INTA published its Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products study, which explores Gen Zers’ relationship with brands and their attitudes about and perceptions of counterfeit products. One of the study’s key findings was that, globally, between November 2017 and November 2018, 79 percent of Gen Zers purchased fake products. At the same time, however, 91 percent of the study respondents said that they are open to changing their views based on new things they learn. This presents INTA and the Unreal Campaign with an opportunity to educate, to shed light on the realities behind counterfeiting, to influence behaviors, and ultimately to reduce the demand for fake goods.

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