Counterfeits and Cristiano
Lightning fast wingers racing towards goal. Thunderously hit penalties bursting the net. Instantaneous joys and woes in the hearts and mouths of supporters.
In the world of football, everything moves fast.
What moves just as fast, however, is a black market of fake goods designed to exploit the loyalty and investment of fans and teams.
Due to the success of the World Cup and the movements in the summer transfer markets, football has been more in the media than it normally would be at this time of year, and you can be sure that where the public interest goes so do the money-making plans of counterfeiters across the world.
Even during the usual summer lull, however, at Pointer we watch the trends and the moves with a keen eye because you never know what is going to provoke the latest influx of fake shirts or fidget spinners.
With that in mind, there’s been a small story making the back pages concerning a certain number 7 formerly of the Spanish capital. The timeline makes for interesting reading.
A timeline of recent events surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo:
10th July 2018 – Despite weeks of prior speculation in the media, Juventus officially reveal that they have signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid on a four-year contract.
11th July 2018 – Official Ronaldo branded Juventus replica shirts go on sale. Fans queue for hours in Turin to buy them and the Juventus website crashes due to overwhelming demand.
11th July 2018 – KPMG’s Football Benchmark platform states that between 1st-11th July, Juventus gained an additional 1.1million Instagram followers (an 11% rise).
12th July 2018 – Reports in the Italian press
suggest that within just one day of being on sale approximately 520,000 Ronaldo shirts have been sold globally. Given a standard price of 104 Euros for the replica jersey this is an income of 54 million Euros. He hasn’t even been unveiled as a player yet.
15th July 2018 – Ronaldo flies into Turin ahead of a medical the following day.
16th July 2018 – Juventus declare a #CR7DAY in Turin. Ronaldo gives his first press conference and is officially unveiled as the latest Bianconero.
17th July 2018 – Just one week after his signing, a simple “RONALDO JUVENTUS” search on the top five worst offending Chinese and Indonesian marketplaces for counterfeit football shirts reveals, with the most basic search term, a total of 6517 listings which feature either definitely or likely counterfeit products.
If we assume these sellers each have one item (which they don’t) and take the same retail value of 104 Euros, then we have an initial sales value of 677,768 Euros. In one week!
The reality is that many of these listings will have no stock, but many will also have hundreds or thousands of items, so the end figures are astronomical. What’s more frightening though is that these figures don’t account for websites, language translations, social media, actual shops/markets or even for the myriad of alternative ways in which online traders will list a product. Searches for Juventus 18/19, or CR7, or Juve Cristiano, will all bring back many more listings. When we speak with our partners Back Four about their work with UK Border Force they tell us that they commonly see imported shipments of fake football shirts containing 10’s or 100’s of items. When a big news story like this breaks though, it’s certain that these totals will reach into the 1000’s.
Although this is a specific issue which has made the news right now because of football, it goes beyond the game and has the potential to touch all brands no matter what their size or specialty. What happens when a hot celebrity is seen wearing your clothes at a high-profile event? How do you cope when a prominent social media influencer says that your toy is going to be the one every kid wants this Christmas? In an age of instant communication, every brand can see this accelerated growth and counterfeiting in a short space of time.
The best solution? Prepare in advance. Get your IP portfolio in order. Speak to the experts.
If you feel like you need advice and assistance, then speak to us and let’s work together to protect your rights.
Pointer Brand Protection is a brand protection service that aims to help you with any problems regarding intellectual property, brand protection, and online enforcement.
Contact us to improve your brand protection strategy, or if you have any questions.
Special Thanks to Stephen Connolly from Back Four
Back Four is a brand protection consultancy which was created in 2011, but which is based on over a decade of experience in protecting global brands like Manchester United, Nike and Converse from counterfeiting and brand abuse.
Back Four manages the Premier League’s globally successful Anti-Counterfeiting Programme, in addition to the brand protection efforts of a host of other clients from across the sports and fashion industries. The Football Association, the RFU and New Balance are all among the various brands who have trusted us with the protection of their intellectual property.