eBay will join forces with the Industry Trust for IP Awareness this week to promote the importance of buying legitimate DVDs. The UK’s largest online marketplace® is launching an awareness campaign on its site to educate its 14 million active users about how to avoid knock-off copies.
Using the Trust’s Knock-Off Nigel advertising creatives, the campaign will use online banners to direct users to a light-hearted new help tool: The Smart Buyer’s Guide to Avoiding Knock-Off DVDs. With one in ten consumers confused about how to spot knock-offs, according to the Trust’s research, eBay hopes the campaign will reduce buyer demand for knock-offs, educate users about how to avoid them and educate them about what to do if they unwittingly buy one.
Users will also be able to engage directly with the Trust’s social stigma campaign through a customisable video game linked to the site. “PELT” encourages players to put their very own Knock-Off Nigel in the stocks and awards points for pelting them with household objects to shame them for knock-off antics. The idea reinforces the Trust’s broader strategy to use humour to engage the public in its serious, copyright message.
Richard Ambrose, Head of Customer Support and Trust and Safety for eBay in the UK, said: “We’re already working closely with brand owners and law enforcement agencies to keep fakes off the site, but recognise that this needs to go hand in hand with tackling consumer demand. Working with the Trust to enable buyers to avoid knock-offs and communicate why this is important in a light-hearted manner is one of the ways we will achieve this.”
The partnership with the Industry Trust marks the second phase of eBay’s consumer awareness campaign, “eBay Against Counterfeits”, which launched last September. The campaign aims to limit the trade in counterfeits by educating users about how and why to avoid knock-offs. It is supported by eBay’s Verified Rights Owner programme (VeRO), which enables 18,000 Rights Owners to report items they believe to be counterfeit so that eBay can remove them from the site.
Stewart Till CBE, Chairman of the UK Film Council, said: “Copyright theft is no longer confined to boot sales, pubs and markets. The growth of the internet has created new outlets for counterfeit copies, both digital and physical. It’s the industry’s fastest growing threat and accounted for a significant part of the £495 million the industry lost to counterfeits last year. Partnering with eBay is a great opportunity for the film industry to take its copyright message to millions of consumers.”
Liz Bales, Director-General of the Industry Trust, said: “Our most recent consumer tracking study suggests attitudes to copyright theft may be starting to change for the better. However, there’s still work to be done to turn attitudes and awareness into behavioural change. It’s encouraging to see eBay’s commitment to educating its users about counterfeits.”
 9% of UK adults have mistakenly bought fake DVDs believing them to be real, according to NOP research for the Industry Trust. The research was carried out among 2,000 UK adults in December 2007.