November 30, 2021, Washington, DC—As part of the “Go For Real” anti-counterfeiting campaign, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released a series of ads informing younger buyers and their parents about the serious dangers of buying fake goods. The ads are designed to counter a dangerous escalation of counterfeits that are cheating consumers and causing serious injuries and death, hurting U.S. businesses, and funding organized crime.
The nationwide PSA campaign is being launched at the opening of the 2021 holiday shopping season, especially as supply chain bottlenecks embolden counterfeiters to rip off American consumers.
The campaign is especially focused on stopping fake electronics, cosmetics and personal care products, and sports equipment. The ads—which show the purchase of a counterfeit gone disastrously wrong—are being rolled out to more than 2,100 television stations, social media, electronic billboards, online gaming, radio and music services, and other innovative ways to directly reach teens and tweens.
“Fakes cause real harm,” the PSAs warn. “Counterfeit products are illegal. They’re fake and can cause damage to you, your property, and your wallet.” The ads focus on a group of teenagers who purchase a counterfeit tablet which ignites when plugged in, causing the house to catch on fire.
“You’re Smart. Buy Smart,” advises the iconic McGruff the Crime Dog® who has helped generations of Americans Take a Bite Out of Crime®. The new ads reinforce an online and in-school education program arming teens and tweens with tools to spot fakes.
“Online fakes are a threat to the health and welfare of consumers, and to brand owners who have put a tremendous amount of time, research and investment into the quality of their products,” said Drew Hirshfeld, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property (IP) and Director of the USPTO. “The USPTO is proud to team up with the iconic McGruff® to help younger buyers avoid fakes and stay safe by making informed decisions about what they purchase.”
“No young person wants to be duped by fake products,” said Paul DelPonte, Executive Director of NCPC. “This campaign equips them with the skills to take a bite out of counterfeits. It will save lives and will help choke off a growing global criminal enterprise.”
Counterfeit products, like faulty electronics featured in the ad, cause more than 70 deaths and 350,000 serious injuries every year. USPTO estimates that the global sale of counterfeit goods is near or above $2 trillion, more than the money made from the sale of illegal drugs or human trafficking
The PSAs were produced by FILMSTERS, an award-winning television and production company. This set of ads will be followed by the release of a special animated production of McGruff in 2022. A national celebrity audition contest to select the next voice of the Crime Dog is planned.
The Go For Real Campaign
Since its launch in November 2019, the Go For Real campaign has boosted Americans’ understanding of the dangers and hazards of fake and counterfeit products.
The campaign has built a growing library of innovative creative material, including a comprehensive 43-page online interactive “Dupe Detector” tool kit for tweens and teens. Information on shopping smart and online protection are conveyed through challenges, tips, games, quizzes, activity sheets.
The National Crime Prevention Council is the nonprofit leader in crime prevention. Our symbol of safety, McGruff the Crime Dog®, has delivered easy-to-use crime prevention tips that protect what matters most—you, your family, and your community. For more information on how NCPC can be a public safety expert for you or how to “Take A Bite Out of Crime®,” visit www.ncpc.org.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the legislative branch "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The agency registers trademarks based on the commerce clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). The USPTO advises the president of the United States, the secretary of commerce, and U.S. government agencies on intellectual property (IP) policy, protection, and enforcement; and promotes the stronger and more effective IP protection around the world. Visit www.uspto.gov.