January , 2018


It Happens Here :>

Welcome to Fakeville! 01

If ‘Farmville’ and ‘Fishville’ are making rounds on ‘Facebook’ of the virtual world, ‘Fakeville’ is making rounds in most places of the real world. We’ve been taught enough about adulteration and also, camouflage of products in the market in our primary classes back at school. But we might not have found enough examples of these then… it is now that we find plentiful of them all around.

Welcome to ‘Fakeville’

Fakeville – the place where a great many articles and products ape and dupe the originals to boost their sales. In simple words, either the logos are designed such that they make a near perfect imitation of the original top-selling brands or the spelling is made out in such a way that it is intended to cheat the onlooker giving a good enough illusion of the original in a jiffy (playing a trick on the eyes).

Also, it is where a ‘Tommy Hilfiger’ is spelt as either ‘Tomi Hilfiger’ or ‘Tommy Hifigure’ or any other way the maker wishes to name. Many more examples of such fakes that create an illusion when seen casually come as no surprise these days. Fake products come in various categories starting from caps and t-shirts reaching to perfect replication of the original range of a certain popular mobile phone.

'Lacoste' watch up on sale for 200 bucks? Credit: Champion's Dialect

'Lacoste' watch up on sale for 200 bucks? Credit: Champion's Dialect

Interestingly, the look-alike products come at about 1/3rd the price of the original, making it easy to sell in the down-market. One can see many a product of this kind kept on sale quite openly. Coming in at much cheaper rates than the original ones and yet the availability being abundant, the market is flooded with such products, making a glitch in the sales of the branded ones to an extent. Whether or not the makers of such products are breaching the laws, these petty manufacturers make pretty good bucks in the shadow of all popular brands.

Interestingly, it’s not just the youth, who catch up with the trend fast, but it is these people who make an even faster approach to remake the trendy originals. Works of art such as paintings by legends, reference books to titles in fiction, electronic goods to software CDs and music and movie DVDs, cosmetics to carpets – all of which, either fake or pirated but nonetheless are available aplenty. If Mobile set Moguls ‘Nokia’ haven’t come up with a dual-sim model as yet, these people did bring in the multiple-sim mobiles looking as good, if not better. The list is endless: Designer – wear, bags, belts, wrist watches, shoes, football jerseys, cricket bats, et al – all of those we see on pavements, in small kiosks and shops add to the fake commodity bandwagon. Catching on the ‘brand conscious urban youth’ has proved to be a winning point for them of late.

If the bon viviant youth don’t budge in the least to spend big bucks on the originals, there are at the same time, people who go the other way and feel that they have a better purchase option as fakes come at much cheaper prices.

A Manchester United fake jersey. Credit: Champions Dialect

A Manchester United fake jersey. Credit: Champions Dialect

“Who cares to scrutinize so closely when the logo and the styling give a near perfect impression of the original? And why spend on pricey branded-wear when you can get a fake at a third of the original price?” asks Kumar, a youngster satisfied with the ‘fakes’ he buys the most. “These fakes give a cheap look when worn at college. No matter how strong the resemblance is”, says Ravi, who has distaste for such spurious goods.

Though imitation is fraudulent and illegal, people, who patronize such merchandise have their own line of argument. “People who cannot afford the sky-high price tags of the branded ones have a chance to pick from some of these at least, which is a win-win proposition for both the customer and the seller alike. After all, the hefty price we pay the big brands is astronomically disproportionate to the real worth of the product and it is no less than loot and white-mischief, as it were.

Yes, it is we, the consumers, who contribute to the big guys the millions for their ad-spends and billions for sponsorship, all in furthering their brand-building.”

A branded football jersey, a prized possession to youth these days bearing names like ‘Ronaldo’ or ‘Messi’ or any such top player, costs no less than Rs.2500 apiece. That’s a startling price tag for a single jersey and not exactly affordable for most. But these days, thanks to the ‘fakes’ doing a good job of catching up with the trend, the fake and yet trendy jerseys are sold at a price range of Rs.200 – Rs.300 apiece. Now, that comes as a great deal for a fancied footballer here. Doesn’t it?

Adidas watch for a mere 100? Credit: Champions Dialect

Adidas watch for a mere 100? Credit: Champions Dialect

“A jersey is a jersey so long as it bears the name of the football great and the logo of the club he plays for. So why be a foolish spendthrift?” reasons Rahul, who enjoys appearing in the jersey of ‘Raul’, a Spanish International and a popular Real Madrid striker.

Opinions and arguments similar to these are aplenty but it is debatable if ‘Fakeville’, though making a good business, is on the wrong side of law as imitation of logos involves copyright and trademark issues.

‘Fakeville’ remains to be an issue considering the laws related to proprietary rights and copyrights of the owning brands on one hand and the economic standards of people in these parts on the other hand.

Are the super-brands right in fixing unrealistic and prohibitive sale price for their products? Is the super fake market right in cashing in, on the brand names they ape to earn their supper? Or finally, are people right in patronizing this spurious ‘Fakeville’?

Or is it just that ‘Fakeville’ makes a good game to play unnoticed and uncared of such things in a real world?

What’s not fake?

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