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04 The real thing: brand authenticity > Irony killed authenticity: Gen Y's perc... - Pg. 111

The Real Thing: Brand Authenticity 111 Irony killed authenticity: Gen Y's perception of authentic claims Little is known about how the critical Generation Y perceive and value brand strategies based on authentic claims. Therefore, we collabor- ated with the Levi Strauss Company to verify youth's perception of authenticity. The classic way of looking at the concept of `brand authenticity' is defined by components such as origin, history and heritage of a brand. Levi Strauss & Co are known as the inventor of the denim jeans with its Levi's 501 jeans model positioned as the ultimate original jeans. They were interested in finding out what the modern interpretations of authenticity for youth are today. 29 Origin and history Youngsters are seldom aware of the origin of their favourite brands. For instance, in the beer category where the date of origin is often an integral part of the brand logo (eg Kronenbourg, Stella Artois) the recognition and recall of these packaging or logo items is very low. Although they believe Levi's is an authentic brand, less than 25 per cent really know the origin of the brand. Despite the label on the back of each pair of jeans clearly mentioning the date of origin, youngsters have never noticed it. When the age or history of a product or brand is concerned, youngsters tend to think more in relative and compara- tive terms. A brand such as Apple seems to have the same association of quality and `being around for a while' even if it is in fact a rather recent brand. In their limited years of being conscious consumers, youngsters have always known the presence of Apple. The fact that parents or grandparents are using a certain brand is also a proof to youngsters that the brand is `old'. They tend to think that if a product has been on the market for a long time, this is a secure proof of good quality. They also associate dates of origin with feelings of cheerful- ness and nostalgia. `Cool! My grandmother may have used it too.' But again, they don't tend to go too far back in time when consider- ing brand history. When a brand has existed for ten years or longer, it truly is an aged brand. Concerning the country of origin, the critical Generation Y makes a distinction between the real origin and the country in which a brand or product is produced. Most youngsters don't know the country of