Counterfeiting may not normally enter the equasion when brand managers and product producers look to develop packaging for their products, but packaging remains both the first and best line of defense against counterfeiting. While there are many high-tech solutions available, sometimes simple changes in design can make the difference.
According to Tanguy Prevot, Creative Leader at Cocoon Group, "When choosing a strategy to protect yourself from counterfeiters, there are multiple levels of security you can strive for. However, for most honest businesses, the real goal should be simply making it as inconvenient as possible to be counterfeited. If a criminal has to choose between the bottle which is easy to copy and the bottle which will be difficult or overly expensive, it's no surprise he will go for the easy target."
According to Mr. Prevot, there are several design-based solutions which should be explored if a producer is truly serious about inhibiting counterfeiters. "Depending on the type of counterfeiting which you are in danger of, different solutions will be more effective. For instance, the criminal ring in the Czech Republic was using 'Old Bottle' counterfeiting - meaning they were re-using old bottles, re-filling, and re-labeling them. In order to protect yourself from this type of scam, you could use various destructive opening techniques - such as a wax seal or specially designed tear-tapes. Shrink-sleeves and wraps are also effective as they are destroyed upon opening and are difficult to re-produce without incuring great expense."
New bottle counterfeiters are a different breed and require different techniques. "These criminals tend to be much better funded and have the facilities to produce and print packaging themselves. To stop this sort of counterfeiting, special inks, more complex pack shapes, and ownable, non-transferable elements can make your brand non-cost effective to copy." Says Mr. Prevot. "Having a special embossing on your bottle, for instance, might make it too expensive for criminals to produce."
In addition to these simple design changes, there are other more complex solutions out there. When asked, Mr. Prevot replied that, "there are of course many special inks, substrates, and rare materials which would protect you to some degree. At Cocoon Group, we are particularly intrigued by integrated solutions which allow consumers to check for authenticity via QR codes or other quick in-store solutions. for instance, a consumer could scan a code on the bottle with their mobile phone and it would give them instant information regarding it's authenticity, where the product was made, and where it was intended for."
Mr. Prevot says that his agency, Cocoon Group is currently offering special consulting services to clients who wish how they can protect themselves from counterfeiters.
Cocoon Group is an award-winning international branding agency offering a full selection of branding services; from unparalleled strategic expertise through 2D and 3D design, artwork, mock-ups, pre-press services, and print management. The Cocoon Group network has offices in Prague, Moscow, Bucharest, and The Hague, working for a variety of clients, including the world's leading companies as well as leading regional and local players. Cocoon Group offers clients a new perspective in branding. For more information about CG, please visit www.cg-eu.com.