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Fighting Crime By Using a Fake Blog

Here's a good one: Coach bags doesn't like that its trademarked products are so often counterfeited and sold as real. So as part of its anti-counterfeiting initiative, it teams up with a college PR class to create a fake blog about a college student who loses her genuine Coach bag, posts signs on campus offering a reward for its return, then is outraged when the one she gets back turns out, alas, to be a fake.

You can read all about this saga here at AdWeek.

This is a what's-this-world-coming-to story. It would appear that having lost its patience using truth and ethics as the basis for fighting counterfeiting, Coach has turned to lies and unethical behavior. Lovely.

And the larger story is one of managing -- or mis-managing -- brand image. While I doubt that this story will be so widely circulated that it will hurt sales, it's not good for a positive brand image. It plants questions in the mind like, "if they're willing to create fake news, what else are they faking?"

Of course, you could also argue that the ends justify the means: the idea behind this campaign is to raise awareness on college campuses of the evils of buying counterfeit luxury items, and that it has done, at least on one campus.