Protecting shoppers from counterfeit electrical goods

The Brief

Counterfeit electrical goods pose risks for consumers – particularly 18–35-year-olds most tempted to buy them. They pose serious safety risks by bypassing usual safety checks and cutting corners to develop cheaper alternatives – and they are usually poor imitations that leave people out of pocket. 

It’s a particular issue for younger people in the run-up to Christmas, which is why the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) appointed Barley to develop an integrated communications campaign to protect 18–35-year-olds from buying counterfeit electrical goods. 

Insights and Approach

The 18–35-year-old audience is broad. It covers different generations who use different social platforms and media. It also covers people who knowingly buy counterfeit goods and those who purchase counterfeits by accident – so we had to address different attitudes.  

Only a truly integrated approach between social media, traditional media, influencer activations, and partners would help reach the full range of the audience – and by focusing on phone chargers and headphones, we used everyday electrical items to drive home messaging.  

We timed the campaign to go live around Black Friday in November and built momentum right through to the peak Christmas shopping days in mid-December. For traditional media, we unearthed fresh insights about 18–35-year-olds’ attitudes towards counterfeit goods and worked closely with enforcement partners to dovetail with their activity. 

The Outcome

A paid social media campaign delivered 4 million video views and 6 million impressions and traditional media relations secured 33 pieces of media coverage. This included a 10-minute feature on BBC Morning Live which highlighted the dangers of using counterfeit products included we provided, alongside detailed advice​. Online coverage included Mirror, ITV News, The Independent, Evening Standard, and Yahoo! 

The influencer activations – driven by four carefully selected influencers that reached different audience demographics led to over 700k impressions, almost 8k likes, and 4.5k clicks.



video views via paid for social activity



impressions via paid for social media


impressions via influencer activity 


pieces of national news coverage