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Smoking Out Counterfeiters

A global tobacco company discovered that sophisticated knock-offs of its cigarette products were showing up in mass quantities in U.S. retail outlets. Officials were alarmed that nearly one fourth of their product on retail shelves was counterfeit. The U.S. Government was equally concerned, since each pack of cigarettes represents tax revenue of up to $5.00.

The challenge

The tobacco company traced the counterfeit product back through its distribution channel, and determined that the phony product was being introduced at its giant distribution centers in the U.S. To protect its brand integrity, the tobacco company had to remove hundreds of thousands of packs of fake product from store shelves, costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. But the company still didn’t know which distribution centers were responsible for the crimes. A covert method of product authentication was required.

The company’s brand security advisor approached BrandWatch for a covert, taggant-based solution that would enable inspectors to quickly and reliably pinpoint which distribution centers were being targeted by the counterfeiters.

The solution

Working with the carton manufacturer, BrandWatch provided its MicroTagg microscopic taggant in a substrate that could be mixed into the lacquer finish used to coat all sides of the corrugated box. This enabled company inspectors to authenticate boxes from any angle without opening them. In addition, BrandWatch designed and built a lightweight handheld distance detection device that would detect the MicroTagg from a distance of up to 20 meters.

The results:

BrandWatch MicroTagg provided a reliable, cost effective solution.
The substrate BrandWatch provided was an extremely affordable solution since MicroTagg allows for detection at low dosage levels. Inspectors were able to move rapidly through the client’s giant distribution centers, scanning enormous quantities of product rapidly. The counterfeit products were identified and the problem distribution centers were dealt with efficiently by the company and the U.S. government. The brand security specialist was the hero.

BrandWatch is the world’s leading manufacturer of cost effective, reliable security taggants. In addition to the company’s MicroTagg line, BrandWatch recently released its SpectraTagg product, a unique formulation that yields four layers of security in a single taggant. BrandWatch brand security solutions offer state-of-the art security at affordable cost.

Find out more

To learn more about how BrandWatch™ Technologies can help you plan and implement effective security solutions to protect your clients’ brands, call us today at 503-285-3890 or visit our website at www.brandwatchtech.com.

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