Indian Case Study - I
Tata Iron & Steel Co Ltd.
Tata Iron & Steel Co was suffering from a major onslaught of counterfeiters on their Agrico range of agricultural implements. In order to ensure that their customers were not fooled by the pass offs, they opted for a hologram label to communicate the authenticity of their products to the end user.
They have been using a hologram since 1997 and have reported significant increase in volumes and strengthening of the brand equity. These holograms now carry a laser marked alphanumeric sequential number too.
The very fact that the hologram has been on the agricultural implement for so long proves that holograms work across the lesser-educated consumers also.
Indian Case Study - II
Procter & Gamble India Ltd.
Procter & Gamble were facing massive counterfeiting of their shampoo bottles in Bangladesh and other select South East Asia markets. The consumers could not differentiate between the original and the fake shampoo bottle. As a result, there was widespread discontent among the users and severe erosion of brand value for P&G.
To counter this problem, they decided to use Holograms in 1999. Since 2002, all the holograms even carry a laser marked running serial number. The holographic security helped P&G to thwart the counterfeits and regain the lost consumer confidence.
Indian Case Study – III
Kolkata Municipal Corporation
Kolkata Municipal Corporation had a big problem with their revenue generating documents like Trade License, Market License, Birth Certificate etc. being counterfeited by the local touts and brokers. Millions in lost revenue were creating severe erosion of their resources.
They decided to use a Hologram across all the revenue generating documents and each of them was affixed with a tamper evident hologram carrying a tamper proof laser marked alphanumeric sequential number. The alphabetic prefix denotes the type of certificate for which the hologram is intended. For instance, all Birth Licenses carry a prefix 'B', and the serial number is unique to all the Birth Certificates.
The presence of the serial number made the task of tracking the hologram labels much easier and the alphabetic prefix before each number ensured that a hologram meant for Birth Certificate could not be used for any other purpose.
The Corporation has reported record collections in the last financial year due to the plugging of this loophole by holographic security.
Indian Case Study – IV
VXL Landis & Gyr
VXL Landis & Gyr (now Siemens Metering Limited, a division of Siemens India) wanted holograms in 7 days flat for securing their Energy Meters against counterfeiting.
They were suggested Instagrams and offered to customize the otherwise generic Instagram, with their logo. They gladly accepted this and the hologram was delivered the sixth day.
Indian Case Study – V
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, one of the India's leading Petroleum companies was sourcing Induction Sealing Wads for sealing their lubricant containers. This enabled the counterfeiters to adulterate or even replace the lubricant and reseal the containers with fake seals that were easily available in the market.
In 1999 they adopted a holographic induction seal to ensure that once the seal was tampered with, the counterfeiter could not procure a similar seal to reseal the container and pass it on to the unsuspecting consumer.
Thus Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited has been able to eliminate product tampering and adulteration. More importantly it was their way of communicating to their consumer that they cared enough for him to ensure what he got was an unadulterated product.
International Case Study – I
Unilever Ceylon wanted to run a consumer promotion where they wanted to give surprise gifts to their consumers. Additionally they wanted to have their promotion secured so that they did not get any fake claims for gifts from the consumers.
We developed a gift voucher for them carrying a Scratch-o-gram. The scratch-o-gram carried the prize-winning information duly covered by scratch coating. Since the prize winning variable information was incorporated in the hologram itself there was obviously no fraudulent claim, thereby guaranteeing the success of the promotion.
International Case Study – II
The Nestlé “Counterfeit” Hologram
In 1992, Nestlé in Greece was suffering significant lost sales and a potential threat to brand loyalty because its catering packs of Nescafé coffee were being counterfeited. The counterfeit packages were nearly indistinguishable from the genuine article and only by inspection of the minutest details could they be told apart. Certainly Nestlé’s customers could not be expected to be able tell the difference.
A strategy was devised that would not only allow the fake cartons to be differentiated, but would also lead back to the counterfeiters to eliminate the problem altogether. Light Impressions was commissioned to make a very simple hologram to be foil-blocked by Cavomit Foils onto the catering packs.
The hologram was a “2D-3D” with three diffractive colors on the surface and a fourth color in the background. The only feature in the background level was a subtle moiré of fine lines arranged in concentric circles. The strongest feature was the Nestlé birds nest logo, which was produced in an “etched-white” effect on the surface layer of the hologram, which looks like white paint, so that when the hologram was viewed obliquely the birds nest logo showed up as white lines on silver and was clearly visible when the
diffractive image was not lit up.
The use of the optically-etched white on the surface layer was an invitation to the counterfeiters to try to simulate the hologram by using a diffractive rainbow hot-stamping foil whilst keeping the birds nest logo as a matt white outline. Counterfeit cartons of coffee started to appear with the “counterfeit” holograms, which were clearly distinguishable from the real hologram to anyone familiar with holograms, but could pass by consumers if not closely inspected.
Redemption Programme to Track Back
The company simultaneously introduced a special promotional programme for catering coffee packs. In an introductory inlay letter, caterers were invited to join the Nescafé Club and to redeem a number of their pack holograms for promotional premiums including a free catering pack of coffee. This promotion was featured in the Nescafé and Cafeteria newsletter, published by the Nescafé Club and distributed to all cafeteria owners in Greece. In addition, a merchandising task force visiting all catering customers further promoted the new idea, creating strong user awareness and motivating a high-level response. The result was that 40% of club members responded to the Nestlé invitation, with over 3,500 vouchers received.
The redemption of holograms was a key part of the strategy to identify the source of the counterfeits. Among other things, the premium card required information about where the product had been purchased. As the cards arrived, the company inspected the accompanying holograms, sorting real from fake and building a database of wholesalers selling the counterfeit product. At the same time, Cavomit was surreptitiously tracking the progress of packaging materials, including diffractive rainbow foils, through Greek converting houses to establish who was supplying the foils for the bogus packs.
Nestlé was thus able to build up a picture of the counterfeit product supply chain. The information from both sides of the investigation was combined to identify the counterfeit producer and their key wholesalers. These were raided and several arrests were made which effectively shut down the active counterfeit enterprise. Goods were seized and destroyed and several individuals were jailed as a result. The police prosecutors and attorneys based their case against the counterfeiters on the holograms as the distinguishing element.
Actual Authenticating Hologram Introduced
Having cleared up the primary counterfeit threat, Nestle then introduced a much more complex hologram on the box as a true authentication device. This time Light Impressions was commissioned to make a very complex multi-channel hologram incorporating the company's birds nest and insignia as a fully three dimensional image (from a model), a product quality guarantee in 2D and promotional messages in several levels. The new hologram also has a kinetic Kineform feature incorporating the “H” mark, to show that the hologram was produced by an IHMA member and is registered on the IHMA's Hologram Image Register. The 'on/off' effect obtained by using a multi-channel hologram is impossible to mimic in any other printing technique, and to date there have been no detected cases of counterfeit Nestlé coffee reaching caterers in the Greek marketplace.
International Case Study – III
Epson Steps Up Anti-Counterfeiting Initiatives
Epson – one of the world’s leading manufacturers of printers and imaging consumables – is stepping up its Anti-counterfeiting initiatives (first announced in AN Vol 5 No 8) and is now beginning to see the investment in its anti-counterfeit strategy pay off in increased seizures and sales.
Counterfeiting is primarily aimed at the company’s inkjet printer cartridges, with counterfeits typically selling for a third of the cost of genuine products and resulting in many tens of millions of dollars per year in lost sales.
In Latin America, a rapidly growing market which now accounts for 5-8% of Epson’s sales of cartridges and other printing consumables, anti-counterfeiting activities are coordinated from the US by Assistant Legal Counsel Alf Andersen, who works with Jose Ramos, Latin America Service Manager. An active and highly-publicized two-pronged anti counterfeiting campaign focusing on both export centers in the US and distribution outlets throughout Latin America has resulted in repeated raids and seizures. According to Alf Andersen this has more than paid for itself in reducing counterfeits and increasing sales of legitimate products. Key to the success of the campaign in the US has been Epson’s participation last autumn, along with other brand owners in the Imaging Supplies Coalition; in training of hundreds of US Customs export inspectors in counterfeit recognition. Seizures of printer supplies for export to Latin America have increased dramatically since then, supported by civil actions taken against numerous defendants in California and Florida, both major centers for exports to the south.
A similar approach has been taken in Latin America, where Epson is working closely with law enforcement officials, resulting in seizures of counterfeit printer supplies in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Chile in the past year. These have included recent raids in Mexico City covering 17 retail locations, and another 25 retail outlets in Sao Paulo belonging to one of Brazil’s largest office supplies distributors.
Effective Centralized European Responsibility
In Europe, meanwhile, anti-counterfeiting activities have been restructured to counter the growing professionalism of the counterfeiters. According to Alun Ritchie, Director of Supplies with responsibility for anti-counterfeiting throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an increasing number of counterfeit operations comprise trading companies set up to distribute counterfeit products which are organized to conceal product to minimize the impact of raids. They also, he commented, ‘have no respect for borders’, so Epson has now centered its operational responsibility for anti-counterfeiting activities at its Amsterdam European HQ, transferring this from the five European sales offices. Market intelligence, investigation and enforcement activities are all channeled through the head office from the five sales offices and are centralized and co-ordinated on a day-to- day basis by Jag Gill, formerly of Hewlett Packard and a director of the Imaging Consumables Coalition of Europe, Middle East and Africa (ICCE), who joined Epson last Autumn. Epson staffs working out in the field have been withdrawn from the front-line and, although they are still involved in intelligence gathering and reporting, investigations and enforcement activities, including raids and seizures, are now undertaken by specialist external investigation agencies.
Under this new centralized structure, several raids have already successfully taken place, including most recently in Spain and Germany.
Epson’s anti-counterfeiting efforts in Latin America, Europe and elsewhere in the world are underpinned by the use of a universal Epson hologram as an authentication device which has been, according to Ritchie, a ‘massive help’ in enabling Epson personnel, distributions and enforcers to identify genuine product from counterfeit. The hologram, first introduced in 1998, is now in its fourth version and is being complemented in several countries with the use of a secondary hologram by distributors to prove that they are authorized re-sellers of Epson products. Offices in Argentina and Brazil have adopted this approach, which is spreading to some of the authorized distributors in the Middle East as well. In addition to the holograms, Epson is also actively looking at enhancing the means for detecting and verifying genuine products with additional, non-holographic authentication technologies as part of its on-going fight against the counterfeits.
Hologram a ‘massive help’ in enabling Epson personnel, distributions and enforcers to identify genuine product.
International Case Study – IV
New Tax Stamps Return $15m To Ukraine Coffers
A new tax stamp developed for the Ukrainian Tax Authority has retained $15 million, previously lost on counterfeits – all in its first month of introduction. The new stamp was introduced after a study revealed that the country was losing millions to counterfeit tobacco and liquor, explained Anatoliy Shevchuk of the Ukrainian state printer holographic Combine Ukraine at the recent Pan - European High Security Printing Conference in Germany. After the report, the tax authorities contacted the company to develop a multi-tiered security package that would include construction of a sophisticated hologram, barcode and numbering system. According to Shevchuk, ‘The high security tax stamps became the most important mechanism of the economic safety of Ukraine.’
The project, which began its initial production in mid-2003, set stringent deadlines and required that the tax stamps be highly competitive with the best international examples. Heavy production capacity would be integral. The earlier tax stamps, which were being counterfeited at scale, were difficult to authenticate without special training and required hardware. Therefore the government mandated that the new stamps would have easily identifiable holographic security features. The stamps would also contain anti-scanner grids, guilloche elements and micro printing. Later, bar codes would be printed on the label.
Numbering a Government Priority
The new tax stamps contain their own color spectrum, images in invisible and visible fluorescent inks, inks with dual security features and temperature sensitive color-change inks. Some areas of the stamps contain rainbow ‘iris’ printing. But after the group settled on the security features, they faced the problem of developing a numbering system, which Shevchuk said was a priority for the government. The numbering system would solve stock and excise issues for the manufacturers and the tax authorities alike. The numbering system was implemented by using inks that penetrated under the reverse side of the paper and would then change color. The stamps have a numbering system that consists of two figures: the first is a regional index (from 1 to 27 for Ukraine). This index shows the product’s region. The second figure is a 6-digit number separate for each tax stamp. Other numbers indicate whether the product is imported and indicates the production date. Also, the tax stamps contain additional properties depending on the capacity of the bottles. Software was also created to manage a database for the codes.
Main Security Feature is Hologram
Shevchuk noted that the main security feature used in the tax stamp is the hologram. This was created by the Kiev company Specialized Enterprise Holography, and uses a holographic stripe 4-5 mm wide which is applied by hot stamping, using Cavomit’s sheet-fed Holo@Cylinder (also in use for tax stamp production in Belarus, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh and Bulgaria). The volume requirements of the Ukrainian project necessitated the procurement of eight such systems (most other countries make do with two), which are in use around the clock at the rate of 2,500 impressions per hour to avoid any bottlenecks in production.
The holographic security elements contain a logo, coat-of-arms and a trademark in the foreground. Other graphic figures are set in the background. Special elements, such as marks and symbols (some latent or coded) are also added. The design is individually created for each product and numbering on the hologram can be performed if requested by the manufacturer. The manufacturers attach the stamp on each bottle or cigarette pack in a way that stamps are being destroyed after the package is opened. It is attached to a bottle in ‘U’ or ‘L’ shape across the mouth.
Substantial Growth in Demand
According to Shevchuk, in the three months since the new tax stamps program began, protection has become so reliable that counterfeiters cannot create an exact copy of the original. As such, his company has seen substantial growth in demand for the new marks. ‘The monthly consumption of the tax stamps for the tobacco goods has increased by 25-30%, and for the alcoholic drinks, twice that amount,’ he said. ‘After one month since the issue of new tax stamps and replacement of the old tax stamps, the (Ukrainian) federal budgets have increased for 80-million Grivnas ($15 million), and at the end of the year should reach 1 billion Grivnas ($180 million).’
A success indeed.
International Case Study – V
A major success for holograms has been protecting tea in Turkey, as described by Osman Kesur of the Çaykur Tea Company.
Until 1985 there had been a state-controlled tea monopoly in Turkey. Since 1985, when the monopoly was rescinded, numerous tea growers and processors sprung up. Çaykur, holder of the monopoly, still had 65% of the market and the strongest brand, but from 1990 began to notice a perturbing decline in sales that it eventually traced to other producers’ product masquerading as Çaykur tea. They were using either identical or look-alike packaging. Some of these counterfeit packs contained, according to Mr. Kesur, “bad tea or tea rubbish”.
In 1995, after researching the options, Çaykur selected a holographic label to protect its brand. The hologram was initially supplied by a UK Company, Embossing Technology, which subcontracted the mastering to Holograms de Mexico.
As a government agency Çaykur is required to re-tender for the supply each year, and the hologram has subsequently been supplied by Istituto Poligrafico (Italy) and Light Impressions International (UK). Çaykur insisted that the hologram be registered on the IIHMA’s Hologram Image Register to gain added protection.
Notwithstanding the several suppliers, the hologram has been extremely effective in countering counterfeits. The first year it was introduced Çaykur reversed the sales decline with a 13.3% sales increase. This rise in sales has continued, with a 10% increase from 1996 to 1997.
In the first three years following the introduction of the holographic label, Çaykur sold an extra 20,000 tonnes of tea with a value of around US$70 million on the domestic market alone. The cost of the hologram was approximately $1.7 million annually, or just over $5 million for the three years. This equated to a 1300% return on the direct cost of the hologram label. Even taking into account indirect costs, the return is around 1000%.
Caykur had a new master made by Light Impressions Ltd, using the same basic design but adding new holographic security features and the company continues to use this hologram to demonstrate the authenticity of its tea and keep off the copycats.