Magazine article Security Management

Going for Bear

Magazine article Security Management

Going for Bear

Article excerpt

Bear USA, of Secaucus, New Jersey, which markets outerwear and sportswear, was established in 1993. The next year, company executives began discovering counterfeit products with the Bear USA label in the marketplace. The forgeries were costing the company money - in 1997, officials estimated a loss of up to seven figures due to counterfeit goods. Beyond the actual cost, executives were concerned that the knockoffs would harm the company's brand image because the counterfeits were of lesser quality.

Justin Fishman, vice president of Bear USA, began searching for a security solution in 1997. He wanted an anticounterfeiting device that offered a deterrent and also looked attractive on the clothing. After researching several types of products, Fishman determined that holograms would be the best approach.

The company's product development staff then began reviewing possible hologram products. They decided to go with the holograms manufactured by Krystal Holographics of New York City after they assured themselves that the hologram was difficult to copy. Krystal designs a 3-D photopolymer hologram for each customer. This makes the hologram different from embossed holograms such as those commonly found on credit cards. Embossed holograms can be easily copied because several hundred companies supply standard types of these images.

The fact that Krystal produced custom designs for each customer also fit in with the company's desire to maintain its image. "The custom holograms make the look distinctive," says Fishman. "This is a big plus."

Bear is implementing its hologram security in two stages: first in Japan and then in the United States. Bear USA shipped clothing with holograms on its hangtags to stores in Japan, the company's second largest market, in the spring of 1998. To raise awareness about the hologram as a symbol of authenticity, Bear USA began advertising in trade magazines before the release. A second wave of advertising is planned to coincide with the introduction of the products in the U.S. retail market.

For the second phase of the hologram program later this year, Bear plans to apply the images directly onto the apparel. The company then plans to transition Japan and its other markets to the direct hologram system. …

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