Railway stations in Mumbai are the targets of FMCG majors such as Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Godrej in their battle against counterfeits. Being the market leaders in certain categories has made these FMCG majors more vulnerable to counterfeits than the rest. In the case of Godrej Consumer Products, it is Godrej Expert, the hair dye brand which is the most counterfeited. HUL, the largest FMCG company and market leader in many categories, has brands such as Fair & Lovely, Pond's Age Miracle, Dove and Axe deos which are the most affected by counterfeits. P&G's Head & Shoulders and Olay have also been duplicated.
Mr Rajiv Bakshi, EVP, Corporate Legal, Godrej, said, “The products which are high on demand are the ones that are counterfeited. In our case it is the Godrej Expert brand of hair dyes which has been duplicated the most as it enjoys market leadership and is also in demand. We have now strategically adopted a process whereby public places like railway platforms and crowded market places have been targeted to spread awareness about counterfeiting.''
Coinciding with the World IPR day recently, the FMCG majors initiated a consumer awareness drive at CST railway station in Mumbai, where stalls exhibited heaps of counterfeit products to help consumers identify the fakes and also learn about the health hazards they pose. Handbills to educate the commuters about their evils were also doled out by the FMCG companies with the backing of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce.
In the past, raids for counterfeit items have been conducted at places such as factories and bottling units where there was large-scale duplication of brands. Now it is selling points like railway stations and crowded bazaars. In fact, in Mumbai's Churchgate station, counterfeit brands are being sold openly and targeting such places is now the FMCG majors' mission. of these FMCG majors.
Trying to fight counterfeiting for the past few years, FMCG companies have now assigned budgets to fight the menace. Typically most of them spend almost Rs 25 lakh yearly to combat counterfeits with the backing of their legal departments. The northern and western markets are more prone to counterfeits with States such as UP, Bihar, Punjab and Gujarat topping the list.