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Arment Dietrich

Coach’s Anti-Knockoff Campaign a Fake

By: Arment Dietrich | April 2, 2008 | 
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Blog written by Liz Pope

As certain retailers would like us to believe, the way you dress dictates status. As a result, consumers spend thousands on wardrobe and accessories to reach this lofty, in vogue, standing. Nevertheless, why buy a $400 purse when you could spend $20? Through the sale of knockoffs, have-nots dress in what passes as Citizen, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co.

To combat knockoffs, the Coach Corporation “educated” Hunter College students in Manhattan about the dangers of knock-off imitations, according to PRWatch.com. Using considerable monetary contributions, Coach prompted the university to host a course in “stealth marketing” and recruited an untenured faculty member to teach the class under the direct supervision of a Coach lawyer.  As part of the curriculum, students created and distributed campus flyers about a fictional student named “Heidi Cee,” who claimed to have been conned into buying a counterfeit Coach handbag. The teacher, in addition, was given explicit instructions to not mention Coach’s involvement in the scheme.

While Coach’s Web site preaches “Integrity is Our Way of Life,” apparently their marketing strategies are not in tune with their corporate messaging.

To resolve Coach’s knockoff competitor problem and avoid spin, perhaps Coach could consider trying to improve their product to provide consumers with something that cannot be duplicated. For example, you don’t see iPhone knockoffs. Why?  It’s too difficult to duplicate. The iPhone’s technology is too advanced, too unique and too precise to be easily duplicated. Coach, on the other hand, takes a normal purse, adds a dozen or so Cs, a label, and a price tag.

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