Paradox and market renewal: Knockoffs and counterfeits as doppelgänger brand images of luxury

Joel Hietanen, Pekka Mattila, Antti Sihvonen*, Henrikki Tikkanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to continue the emerging stream of literature that has found knockoffs and counterfeits to be unobtrusive or even beneficial to luxury companies by analyzing how they produce paradoxes of meaning and contribute to the renewal of luxury markets. This is done by exploring them as doppelgänger brand images that reappropriate brand imagery for their own purposes. Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper that focuses on the role of knockoffs and counterfeits in the renewal of luxury markets. Findings: The findings highlight how knockoffs and counterfeits can contribute to the emergence and cyclical diffusion of luxury. As luxury offerings are introduced to the market, knockoffs and counterfeits accelerate the snob effect, aid in anchoring trends and contribute to induced obsolescence. During diffusion, knockoffs and counterfeits can strengthen aspiration, bandwagon and herding effects. In doing so, knockoffs and counterfeits create a paradox as they simultaneously legitimize the idea of the “authenticity” of genuine offerings through their presence in the market and create cyclical demand for novel offerings by undermining the authenticity claims of existing luxury offerings. Thus, knockoffs and counterfeits can be understood as a paradox of luxury markets that contributes to the market cyclicality not despite but because of this paradoxical interplay. Originality/value: While research on knockoffs and counterfeiting is plentiful in the field of marketing, this is among the few studies that analyze how these offerings contribute to luxury markets and their renewal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-763
JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Authenticity
  • Brand image
  • Counterfeit
  • Doppelgänger
  • Luxury
  • Paradox

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