Rise of the underdogs - how unexpected performances are affecting the counterfeit market

    Clotilde Loupforest, Brand Protection Analyst

    Riccardo Ragonese, Brand Protection Analyst and Sub-Team Leader

    Published 13 Jul 2018
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From England’s strongest showing at a tournament in decades, through to heavyweights falling far earlier than predicted, there have been many surprising storylines. However, no story has captured the imagination quite as much as the teams who have defied the odds to dive deep into the knockout stages.

The underdogs

The term underdog dates back to the Victorian era, and at this World Cup teams like Russia, Mexico, Sweden and (of course) Croatia have embodied this spirit perfectly. They have all defeated more fancied opponents and seen their nations rally behind them.

The team at Incopro wanted to see what impact these underdogs were having on the sale of illegal shirts and the counterfeiting market. So, utilising Incopro’s specialist online analysis system, Talisman, our analysts delved deep into the data, scanning over 200 online marketplaces and social media platforms for offers of counterfeit shirts. They were able to monitor the numbers available at the start of the tournament and track this as we have progressed into the latter stages.

What are the numbers telling us?

The numbers are quite staggering. Starting with Russia, a team who far exceeded expectations. Between beating Saudi Arabia in their opening game, to heroically knocking Spain out in the Round of 16, they saw a 28% increase in counterfeit shirts available on the market. This represents an increase from 10 million illegal shirts to 13 million available.

This trend was even more noticeable for the Mexican team. They sent shockwaves through the tournament as they defeated the reigning champions Germany in their opening game. Their performances saw an astounding 51% hike. This meant their numbers rocketed from 13 million to almost 20 million counterfeit shirts available.

Sweden, Japan and the tournament’s greatest overachievers, Croatia, have all seen similar surges in counterfeit activity. In contrast, Germany a team who performed so poorly against expectations, saw a 2% decrease in shirts available. These numbers provide evidence of the speed with which counterfeiters are able to respond to demand.

Tracking the counterfeiter’s activities

Counterfeiters operate sophisticated networks to promote their illegal merchandise. Our analysts tracked these networks across social media to monitor how illegal shirts were being promoted. A particularly popular example was Javier Hernandez, commonly known as ‘Chicharito’. A key cog in the Mexican performances, the hashtag ‘Chicharito’ was often used by counterfeiters, as well as illegal use of the player’s imagery. This was one notable of many that were found across the platforms we monitored and it demonstrates how important it is for brands to fight back against this opportunistic and illegal behaviour.

Fighting back against counterfeiters

As we discussed previously about the popularity of retro kits, counterfeiters are highly reactive and move quickly to take advantage of trends. They have their ear to the ground and are constantly looking for new ways to flog their low-quality and often unsafe wares. To fight back against this a holistic approach needs to be taken that is able to quickly identify and limit the impact of their activity. Incopro’s technology monitors, tracks and enforces against online infringers and helps you eliminate online threats to your brand, ensuring you stay safe online and the internet is a better place for you to conduct business. Contact us to find out more.

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If you would like to learn more about how Incopro helps to help protect against counterfeits, please contact us.

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