Impact Studies Committee’s Gen Z Study Brings Expanded Reach for Unreal Campaign

Published: June 15, 2019

INTA’s Impact Studies Committee (ISC) on May 16 launched its first attitudinal study, Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products, consisting of a comprehensive global report and 10 country-specific reports.

The study is part of the ISC’s mandate to commission and coordinate research projects and studies that support INTA’s policy, resources, and communications activities. Since its inaugural 2016-2017 Committee Term, ISC has published four impact studies.

The multi-country research study investigates the behavior of Gen Zers (18- to 23-year-olds) when it comes to their relationship with brands and attitudes toward counterfeit products.

The study uniquely explores the moral factors that drive Gen Z’s decisions to purchase real or counterfeit goods, and offers brand owners a roadmap to communicating with this cohort–the largest group of consumers worldwide by 2020.

The research consisted of qualitative virtual discussions with 30 Gen Zers from four countries in August and September of 2018, followed in November 2018 by a quantitative online survey of 4,500+ Gen Zers from 10 countries: Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States.

INTA leadership announced the study results on May 19, at the Opening Ceremony of INTA’s 2019 Annual Meeting. Registrants learned that 93 percent of Gen Zers surveyed said they had a strong respect for the value of people’s ideas and creations. This ideal extends into the brand space, with 74 percent of respondents noting that they believe it’s important to buy genuine products.

But when it comes to putting these ideals into practice, the study revealed a different perspective. Within the past year (November 2017‒November 2018), 79 percent of Gen Zers said they had purchased fake products. Among product sectors the most commonly purchased counterfeits were apparel, shoes, and accessories.

View the full-size version here.

Further, the report found that the two top factors influencing respondents’ opinions about buying counterfeit products were income and morality-with income beating morality by 10 percent. In fact, 57 percent of respondents said they could not afford the genuine version of some brands.

Encouragingly, 91 percent of Gen Zers expressed openness in changing their views based on learning new facts, and 85 percent of Gen Zers said they believe brands should aim to do good in the world.

In alignment with these findings, and as part of INTA’s call for more extensive consumer education, INTA President David Lossignol (Novartis Pharma AG, Switzerland) announced that the Association is expanding the reach of its Unreal Campaign. To this end, the Unreal Campaign-which has been educating young consumers 14 to18 years of age about the value of trademarks and brands and the dangers of counterfeit products-will now expand its outreach to consumers up to the age of 23.The Unreal Campaign provides educational presentations at schools across the globe-in 38 countries so far-and through social media messaging.

“We are delighted to see that the study has influenced the age extension of the Unreal Campaign,” said Phil Cox (DarbyCox, USA), 2018‒2019 Chair of the ISC. “Additionally, as brand professionals, I encourage everyone to share the findings of this study with your marketing teams and colleagues because the study shows that brand creators or their employees are the most credible source for Gen Zers to learn about counterfeit products.”

A dedicated panel session, “Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products,” during INTA’s 2019 Annual Meeting in Boston, provided additional opportunities to learn more about the study. Panelist Matthew Kuykendall (Sony Interactive Entertainment, USA) a member of ISC’s Gen Z Insights Project Team, explained, “It is important for brand owners to continue investing in their own online anticounterfeiting educational programs and working with organizations such as INTA to educate young consumers on the dangers of counterfeit products and value of trademarks and brands.”

Looking Ahead

In the new 2020‒2021 Committee Term, the ISC will transition into a Research Advisory Council. New study requests can be submitted at any time by completing this study intake form and sending your request to [email protected] or [email protected].

Caroline Chicoine (Husch Blackwell, USA) and 2018‒2019 Vice Chair of ISC, commented, “Our team is excited to finish the committee term with completion of a study on the economic impact of trademark-intensive industries in 10 countries in Latin America. So stay tuned!”

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