Philips yesterday launched its “Buy Original” campaign in Accra to create awareness about counterfeit products in the market and educate consumers about a genuine product from a counterfeit one.
In particular, the campaign was to introduce effective measures for consumers to be able to easily identify and verify Philips original consumer appliances and lighting products.
Launching the campaign, Chioma Iwuchukowu-Nweke, General Manager of Philips West Africa, said counterfeiting is designed to mislead the public and all who were involved in buying and selling the product do so to make easy money and ride on the reputation of others.
She said, apart from losing markets shares, counterfeiting does the brand more harm by destroying it image.
Mrs. Iwuchukowu-Nweke bemoaned the huge financial loss incurred by Philips as a result of counterfeiting, saying “it does not only affect the company but it also affects the consumer greatly since they are the end users of the products.”
According to Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC), cross border trade in physical counterfeits alone cost the global economy $250 million per annum.
In Ghana and other counties, a number of Philips lamps (lighting products) sold are counterfeits. Cheap components found in the counterfeit lamps, such as the driver which regulates electrical voltage, cause the lamp to fail well before its stated lifetime.
Mrs. Iwuchukowu-Nweke said, “Philips is setting up an sms number for authentication of the Philips lighting portfolio in case of doubt; the consumer in Ghana has to send the 16-digit serial number of the lighting product via sms to 20822 and they will receive immediate feedback on whether the product they are planning to buy or have bought is genuine or fake.”
She said, the authentication service had been a major milestone in the company’s fight against counterfeits and implored all customers in Ghana to help the company to fight counterfeits.
Mrs. Iwuchukowu-Nweke assured wholesalers, retailers and customers of Philip products that the brand would continue to be the “choice of people.”
The General Manager-Lighting, Philips West Africa, Felix Darko said Philips would work alongside consumers, government, and other relevant organisations to enlighten the public on matters relating to counterfeiting.
He therefore, urged the public to become more vigilant and question products that seem to be unusually cheap, appear poorly made, or have generic packaging; especially when shopping at more traditional trade stores.
Philips is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of healthcare, consumer lifestyle and lighting.
By Jennifer Apprey