International brand Procter & Gamble Company is the parent company of several renowned brands operating in different categories, from consumer products to health products like Pampers, Ariel, Dreft, Ace, Always, Herbal Essences, Pantene, Old Spice, Mr. Clean, Gillette, Vics, Crest, and Oral-B, among others.

Today, there are three brands that represent a major concern for the company: Ariel, Gillette and Head & Shoulders. As it stands today, counterfeits of these brands impact up to 20% of sales in the most important countries in Latin America.

Talking to Brands+, Julie Mejia, Brand Protection at P&G for Latin America, offered all the details behind this problem.

What is the main problem the company is facing in the region?

In regards to brand protection, we have seen that in recent years counterfeiters are not just attacking luxury brands, but also consumer and health brands. As a company, we are very concerned about what we should do and we strategically define this as something very important, we need to be able to attack everything involving counterfeiters and imitators of our products regionally and globally.

It’s important to do this, to have the laws focus on supporting and helping companies, so that we can, with our taxes, support the society and the economy of all countries, and thus be able to create more jobs and in the end attack this form of illicit trade that leaves nothing but damage to the economy and society.

Which countries are the most involved in counterfeiting your problems?

As a company focused on consumer goods and health products, we face more counterfeiting and sometimes copies of the brands themselves. Looking at specific countries, in Bolivia we obviously have many problems, Uruguay, for example, is a transit country, there are also countries like Panama, which are important in order to stop all traffic coming from China.

We also have problems as in the case of medications on the internet, which poses a bigger risk to our brands because we have people selling on the internet, offering products that consumers don’t know if they are original or not, and in the end this makes it so that there is a bigger risk for our consumer’s health.

What are the most affected P&G brands?

Procter brands are million-dollar brands. We have brands like Head & Shoulders that report billions of dollars in international sales and, obviously, the brands that counterfeiters target the most in Latin America are Ariel, our detergent brand; Gillette and its shavers; and Head & Shoulders with hair care.

There is an impact of up to 20% in the sales of these brands in some of the most important Latin American countries, but it depends on consumption levels, on the market and on consumers, so we have countries that are very affected like Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Just as counterfeiting is a business of opportunity that looks towards illicit trade to sell something, it also affects our brands, and nowadays is one brand after the other.

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