On October 19, 2015, the Unreal Campaign visited Universidad Externado de Colombia. INTA member Claudette Vernot (Estrategia Juridica) and her team (Estrategia Juridica Nacional e Internacional) presented a one-day lesson plan to a group of 25 students at the School of Finance, Government and International Relations. The event covered consumer protection and the alarming reality of counterfeits in the Colombian marketplace.
The event emphasized that counterfeiting covers not only the more commonly-known products sold on the streets, such as clothing and handbags, but also medical and technology products that can imperil the health and safety of consumers. The students were educated on what to look for when identifying counterfeit products and the social reasons and adverse impact of supporting even presumably “harmless” fakes. Some samples of counterfeit and original products were displayed, and the presenters explained how many of these products are made (e.g. sweatshops with child labor) and how they financially support groups behind these manufactured goods (i.e. criminal syndicates).
During the event, students participated in four breakout groups which focused on corporate, social, educational and communications issues surrounding the counterfeit industry. The students grasped the necessity of having public institutions and legislation to fight contraband and counterfeiting and successfully addressed the impact of counterfeiting on all of these various sectors of society.
The students were also asked to brainstorm a slogan for their Campaign and they drafted, “Legality, Education and Conscience.” Their message is that consumers are also primary actors in the fight against contraband and counterfeiting. The consensus of the different groups was that brand owners and the Colombian government should reinforce public awareness campaigns with this message as a means of eliminating the demand for contraband at the consumer level.
For more information on the Unreal Campaign, please contact INTA’s Unreal Coordinator, Laura Heery at firstname.lastname@example.org.