Did you know that holograms were an accidental discovery by Dennis Gabor? Gabor discovered holograms while trying different techniques to capture images. A technology of the 20th century, holography was never intended to be used on packaging for authenticity verification. Yet, holograms remain an easy and popular choice as an anti-counterfeit tool. (Click here to know more ways that anti-counterfeit technology can protect your supply chain)  But are holograms effective in the process of authenticity verification? As supply chains become complex, can we still rely on simple holograms as a quick fix to counterfeits? Before we dismiss holograms, it is essential to note that the holograms we use today as not the same as that of the 20th century. With digital cameras, holograms have become technologically more sophisticated. In addition, holograms brought in the concept of brand identity. After all, in the past, holographic technology was expensive and difficult to replicate. But today, the use of holograms as a standalone solution for authenticity verification remains questionable.

The shortcomings of holograms for authenticity verification:

There are many types of holograms available in the market. Depending on the technology and imprinting method, holograms can be simple or complex. The effectiveness of holograms in packaging also depends on how they are applied. For example, a monochromatic sticker with a flip-flow effect is easy to duplicate. Security seals are often made using laser technology and software. Companies that take brand protection seriously invest in unique holograms. But even sophisticated and unique holograms have their shortcomings:

  • Useful only as a deterrent: Products with a hologram make a statement to potential counterfeiters. It shows that the brands care about the issue of counterfeits and have taken the first step to tackle the problem. Simple hologram stickers are easy to make and cheap. Many brands use such stickers as lip service to fight fakes.

  • Expertise needed to verify holograms: Modern holograms need high-level technology for imprinting and verification. Some experts believe that unique hologram stickers are tough to replicate. But can the general public understand the difference between a real and a fake hologram? If the replica resembles the original hologram to some extent, buyers won’t suspect an issue. Passable replicas can fool many customers. Remember, passable fakes are cheap and easy to make.

  • Hologram verification is effortful and non-engaging: Who has the time to scrutinize a product? Buyers are in a hurry, and holograms are complicated to verify. Also, hologram for brand protection is a passive technology. It does not engage or capture the attention of the customers. Instead, holograms offer a ‘best guess’ for verification.

  • Overt stickers offer false security: Customers are now used to seeing too many overt markers on the products. In addition, verifying a hologram is effortful and not very efficient. So, most buyers feel reassured when they see a hologram on the product. It may even be a fake sticker, but it doesn’t matter to customers. 

  • Open invitation to more counterfeit: Once look-alikes become passable, the original hologram becomes useless. Making fake hologram stickers has become a business for counterfeiters. 

Despite the many hologram issues, it is not a technology of the past. Holograms offer robust protection when used as a holistic approach to counterfeiting.

Authenticity verification: is one method enough?

The grey market operates through various levers. Is there a gap in your supply chain? Is end-to-end product tracking and tracing an issue? Perhaps your brand is a victim of online abuse. Counterfeit is a complicated, complex global issue. Maybe in simpler times, holograms were practical tools for authenticity verification. But with technological advancement and the advent of eCommerce, we need more. Brands can no longer rely on a single and overt anti-counterfeit technique. Instead, brand protection is a holistic strategy.

Certify by ACVISS:

Certify by ACVISS fits into every step of your supply chain, from production to consumption.

  • Tamper-evident hologram: ACVISS offers a combination of a tamper-evident hologram label. The labels embedded with a unique code can be verified in real-time using the ACVISS mobile application. 

  • Patented process: Each label is embedded with Unique, Variable, Non-Cloneable & Non-Predictable 2D and 3D codes.

  • Tamper evident and tamper proof: The code is embedded into a Secure Tamper Evident & Destructive Self Adhesive Hologram Label. Thus, the label is completely tamperproof. Verification is possible only through the ACVISS Mobile App, making it impossible to replicate using other QR scanning Apps.

As technology evolves, we need to change how we see and use holograms. We already know that now holograms are embossed on the product. However, hologram technology has not come to an end but a slight bend.