"When You Aren't What You Are Wearing": How Consumers of Counterfeits Are Evaluated

Stephanie Geiger-Oneto, University of Houston, USA
During social encounters, people often rely on branded products to communicate information about them while making judgments about others. This research investigates how consumers perceive those who choose counterfeits over authentic brands in both dating and work settings. Social Identity Theory (SIT) predicts that people tend to evaluate the actions of others, (i.e. purchasing counterfeits) more favorably when those individuals are members of an in-group as opposed to an out-group. In Study 1, respondents were given an online dating profile that included information about the target’s race and a type of product (high status, lower status, or counterfeit) the target had recently purchased. In Study 2, respondents were given similar information from an online employment website. After reading a scenario in which the target is caught using a counterfeit product, respondents were asked to rate the target on several characteristics. The results obtained were consistent with SIT. In both studies, in-group targets wearing counterfeits were rated more favorably than out-group targets.
[ to cite ]:
Stephanie Geiger-Oneto (2007) ,""When You Aren't What You Are Wearing": How Consumers of Counterfeits Are Evaluated", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 600-625.