Professor of Marketing
Counterfeiting; Counterfeit; Branding; Infection; Contagion; Contamination; Moral Disgust; Morality; Ethics; Public Policy;
Journal Article | Journal of Consumer Psychology | 28 | April 2018
How Counterfeits Infect Genuine Products
The authors argue that moral disgust towards counterfeiting can degrade both the efficacy of products perceived to be counterfeits and that of genuine products resembling them.Five studies support our propositions and highlight the infectious nature of counterfeiting: Perceiving a product as a counterfeit made disgust more mentally accessible, and led participants to disinfect the item more and reduce how long they remained in physical contact with it (Study 1).Participants who perceived a mouse as a counterfeit, performed less well in a computer game using the mouse and expressed greater moral disgust, which mediated lowered performance (Study 2).Exposure to a supposedly counterfeit fountain pen in an unrelated prior task, infected participants’ performance using a genuine ballpoint pen resembling the ‘counterfeit;’ individual differences in moral attitudes moderated the effect (Study 3). Exposure to a supposedly counterfeit mouse, infected performance with a genuine mouse of the same brand; moral disgust mediated this effect (Study 4). Finally, moral disgust mediated lowered efficacy of a supposed counterfeit and that of a genuine item resembling the ‘counterfeit’ (Study 5).