Thursday, May 8, 2008

A thin line

Add ImageA City University of New York student, Heidi Cee posted fliers around the campus pleading for help after losing her Coach bag. Cee later claimed the person who turned in her bag, actually deceived her and gave her a counterfeit purse.

This prompted her into action, writing posts on her blog, and eventually organizing an anti-counterfeiting event.

If you think this sounds like a dream come true for an anti-counterfeiting organization, you're half right. Heidi Cee was all dream and no truth.

That is because a class of City University of New York public relations students made her up as part of a campaign for the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), which sponsored the class.

A recent Adweek Article covers every detail of the incident. It is a great case study.

The sad thing is, these student's plan almost worked. Cee's site received 48,000 hits its first week and more than 700 visitors signed an online pledge against counterfeit goods.

There is some controversy, but I doubt it will damage Coach's sales. As a advocate of increased transparency, I find it depressing when an elaborate hoax proves largely effective.

Photo by SummerTX

1 comment:

Amelia said...

Wow, this is an interesting story. I, always worried about academic freedom, was struck by the encroachment of a group of corporate companies in an educational system. This seems like a big problem for PR and for educators. When corporate interests have a role in education, there seems to be less room for a healthy discussion of ethics before financial interests present themselves. Perhaps everyone, not just PRos, should be concerned about this case.