The Japan Patent Office along with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) launched an anti-counterfeiting campaign on December 2, 2012, to educate consumers against the ills of this proliferating social phenomenon. In recent years, counterfeit and pirated products have become widespread using increasingly sophisticated tricks and Internet transactions leading to more serious damages and an increase in the number of victims. As many fall prey to phony websites, a recent public opinion poll on Intellectual property revealed that half of respondents who purchased contraband did so knowingly. The Government took this finding as their cue to improve consumer awareness and eliminate the proliferation of counterfeits using a multimedia campaign.
The campaign’s slogan is “Buying Fakes Makes You Fake” and uses the age-old tactic of public shame and humiliation to get under the skin of the image conscious contraband shoppers. In one video, a young women is walking down the street holding a contraband purse. She smiles as she passes a shop window selling the real brand item as she says to herself, “No one can tell the difference.” Just then, out of no where, a cartoon face of “henohenomoheji”, the Japanese equivalent to the Western yellow and black “smiley face,” is slapped on her face and she’s knocked off her feet and goes flying backwards in slow motion. The video played on Jumbotrons in major Japanese cities on the 2nd, along with images of the “imposter shopper” in full-page newspaper and magazine ads and online banners at auction sites. Judge for yourself as to the effectiveness of this campaign. Let us know what you think! Here is a link to the video