Royal Philips (AEX: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) today launched its “Buy Original” campaign in Ghana; an informative multi-year outreach aimed at protecting consumers, creating awareness about counterfeit products in the market and educating consumers in identifying an original genuine product versus a counterfeit one.
According to the Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC) world-wide, cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone cost the global economy USD 250 billion a year. In Africa, counterfeit products are posing serious concerns for local economies and brands who have worked hard to build reputation and consumer confidence in their markets.
Consumers in most instances aren’t even aware that they are buying counterfeit products; Philips wants to put consumers in a position that they are confident that they are purchasing an original Philips product. A genuine product is subject to quality and safety control and will protect the consumers and their family. It also provides customers the after sales guarantee and the peace of mind that the after-sales commitment will be honored.
According to local media reports, a joint project between the European Union and the Ghana Employers Association in 2009, estimated the cost of counterfeiting to the Ghana economy at around USD 200 million in lost revenue, not including the human cost, thus highlighting the need for the government, manufacturers, MNC’s and consumers to step up efforts in the fight against counterfeiting.
Philips is tackling this issue through the launch of its “Buy Original” campaign, which will introduce effective measures for consumers to be able to easily identify and verify Philips original consumer appliances and lighting products.
“While there are no reliable industry wide statistics on the number of products that are counterfeits; from market feedback we receive, we know that this issue is very severe. Philips wants to work alongside consumers, government authorities, other MNCs and relevant organizations to see how we can collaborate together to enlighten and inform the consumers on matters relating to counterfeiting. We urge the public to become more vigilant and question products that seem to be unusually cheap, appear poorly made, or have generic packaging; especially when shopping at more traditional trade stores. We would like to encourage consumers to shop from approved Philips distributors and retailers and look for the “Original” security holographic sticker on our products,” said Felix Darko, General Manager – Lighting, Philips West Africa
Counterfeiting is designed to mislead the public and all who are involved in buying and selling the product in order to make easy money by freeriding on the reputation of others. It is hard to pinpoint where the fake product or packaging is originally made, where the shipment originates, and who is responsible for exporting the product.
In West Africa, most fake products exist in the informal trading markets rather than in the modern retailers. Philips’ internal research indicates that the best performing products where consumer demand is high tends to fall prey to counterfeits including: dry irons, kettles, blenders, Philips AVENT baby bottles and certain lighting products such as TLD (tubes), starters, energy saving lamps such as Genie lamps, halogen lamps and fluorescent tubes.
In Ghana and other countries, a number of Philips lamps (lighting products) sold are counterfeits. Cheap components found in the counterfeit lamps, such as the driver which regulates electrical voltage, cause the lamp to fail well before its stated lifetime. Also, it can prove to be a hazard because of the poor construction. Counterfeits are therefore dangerous to consumers.
The Philips “Buy Original” campaign kicked-off in Kenya in October 2014 and will move across West Africa during June 2015. Philips will be introducing innovative hologram security stickers (for lamps) and providing a unique 16 digit code validation code for all Philips Lighting products, as well as the “original” sticker for their consumer lifestyle and lighting products to enable consumers to easily and instantaneously identify originals.
This is being supported by a comprehensive Point-of-Sale (instore) and media led customer education programme and an extensive print and radio advertisement campaign. Purchase of authentic Philips products comes with a guarantee. Philips is also collaborating with local customs officials in confiscating counterfeits of Philips products being sold openly in key markets.
Philips is also setting up a sms number for authentication of the Philips Lighting portfolio in case of doubt; the consumer (in Ghana) has to send the 16-digit serial number of the lighting product via sms to 3110 and they will receive immediate feedback on whether the product they are planning to buy or have bought is genuine or fake.
For all Philips consumer appliances and Philips AVENT baby products, Philips is introducing a hologram sticker on packaging so that consumers can identify authentic products.
Philips is setting up a dedicated website www.philips.com/buyoriginal where consumers can send queries or feedback and also where they can find details of genuine v/s counterfeit products as well as details of all Philips authorized distributors.
“The issue of counterfeit products has serious repercussions for consumers’ health and safety. Buyers are often looking for the best deal and are not necessarily aware of the risks involved in purchasing a counterfeit product. Protecting the consumer is our number one priority. The Philips ‘Buy Original’ campaign will not only allow consumers to easily identify a Philips original but empower them to take the necessary steps in reducing counterfeit trading in the country.” added Felix Darko.
Steps consumers can take to identify Philips original consumer products:
Look out for the Hologram “Original” Sticker on the packaging of Philips consumer appliances and Philips AVENT baby products. This immediately identifies the product as a Philips original. It not only protects the consumer’s two-year guarantee with Philips but also confirms the brand’s superior technology and safety promise.
Make sure you find the unique code on the Security Label which will be on the box. In Ghana, you can SMS the 16-digit code to 3110 to receive verification of the product’s authenticity.
The label is fitted with digital anti-forgery technology and is fixed with secure die-cutting which ensures it’s completely destroyed when removed making it impossible to add to non-Philips products.
The sms coding is not yet available for Philips consumer appliances.
“It is imperative that consumers only buy Philips products from approved distributors and retailers because when you purchase a Philips original, you are buying safe, superior technology every time,” concludes Felix Darko.