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Original fakes

This, the quote from a market stall salesman in propositioning passers-by at a tourist resort. It made me laugh.

As new seasons are upon us, the proliferation of fake strips and merchandise can be found around the World.  Even the attention to authentic labels and trade-marking are not preventing the creativity of would-be clothing manufacturers.  In Spain, a similar sales representative was a little more coy about unveiling the latest, fake, Barcelona kit for my 7 year old.  In Turkey, the Barcelona replicas were on full view on pre-prepared mannequins.  £10 for a shirt for the new season (and shorts thrown in, too). No doubt another factor in the demise of such as JJB Sports as publicised this week, reporting poor sales of replica football kits.

I recall a few years back the then Managing Director of adidas quoting that the copying of its footwear whilst illegal was of a particularly good standard.  I remember a visit to one such manufacturer in Izmir where a protocol somewhat resembling the keystone cops prevailed. Any investigation required 24 hours’ notice and this resulted in a mass relocation within that timeframe leaving the authorities empty handed.

In the whole of last season, a total of £1 Million of counterfeit Premier League goods were seized, mostly at ports with goods imported from Asia. The task of preventing counterfeit goods is a multi-agency operation, including Customs, Trading Standards and a consultancy called Back Four Ltd.

If fans feel short-changed, at pricing strategies, and yet another strip is perceived as profiteering, can we really be surprised that a less-official alternative might become attractive?  A challenge for clubs and retailers to ‘compete’ and add value.

Silly burgers

Incredibly, those who have nothing better to do are bleating about the disappointment in the amount of commercialisation associated with the London 2012 Olympic Games.

As we stared, the whole family, and watched the Torch travelling through Stockport, we were witnessing an Event of such magnitude unlikely to ever happen in my lifetime.  Yes, around me, even on that day the parading lorries from the likes of Coca Cola were subject to the odd quip about how inappropriate, but commercial marketing dictates that we need such sponsors.

Without this, these major events will be purely a drain on resources and certainly not be financially viable. I personally, like the way that Richard Pound, longtime IOC Committee Member and Author to Inside the Olympics: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Politics, the Scandals and the Glory of the Games” recounts the fact that all sporting stadia have perimeter advertising, yet at the Olympics advertising in venue is non-existent and athletes are not allowed to promote any products (hence, term ambush when they do).  In effect, the counter-debate is that the Olympics is the least advertising, invasive spectacle in sports!

McDonald’s came in for some early stick on the appropriateness or otherwise of its association with the Games.  Yesterday’s statement by Usain Bolt after his Gold Medal in 100M made me smile, on being asked about this pre-run preparation he retorted “I had a McDonald’s for breakfast”.