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To Foil Counterfeiters, Rio 2016 Makes Its Own Knockoffs

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At the official Rio 2016 Megastore on Copacabana Beach, a white T-shirt emblazoned with the swoopy, multi-colored logo of the Summer Olympics sells for 95 reais ($29).

A half-hour away in Rio de Janeiro’s sprawling downtown market, a nearly identical shirt sells for just 40 reais. The fabric is thinner, but it’s no knockoff — the low-cost version also has the blessing of the official Olympic organizing committee.

With many Brazilians unable to afford Olympics tickets or souvenirs, organizers have taken a novel approach to merchandising. In addition to plenty of higher-end gear at tourist price-points, the committee has also licensed a slew of copycat paraphernalia that sells for much less.

Olympic organizers typically license souvenirs at only one price, then aggressively go after cheap fakes. Rio 2016’s strategy is designed to beat counterfeiters at their own game and to appeal to locals in a country where the average minimum wage is 880 reais ($270) a month, said Sylmara Multini, head of licensing at Rio 2016.

“The best way to combat piracy is by using product,” Multini said in an interview. “If you have a 40-real T-shirt, we feel most of the population will be able to engage with our product.” – READ MORE

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