Monday, June 11, 2012

Luxury


LVMH Icon Ad with Soviet Leader Mr. Gorbachev

I read a book last year called Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster, by Dana Thomas. The book discussed how luxury goods went from the world of aristocracy and royals to ordinary folks like you and me. Apparently, at one time luxury goods were reserved for a special group and the rest of the population was relegated to whatever they could find. Nowadays the concept of luxury could be more about marketing than actual quality.



When Oprah was turned away from Hermes in Paris because they were preparing for an event it only increased their cachet, although Hermes has since apologized to Ms. Winfrey. Luxury has always been about rarity, exclusiveness and quality. Waiting lists are not rare in this realm and getting your hands on a luxury product can be a chore. Remember “Samantha’s quest” for a red Birkin handbag in Sex in the City? She used a celebrity’s’ name (Lucy Liu) to get to the top of the two year waiting list.



Luxury today seems to be essentially about having something that is perceived as rare or only for royalty. LVMH has been successfully running their icon advertisements featuring world leaders and celebrities. The ads show how a rare group is sporting their products, but is this truth or marketing?



Personally, I’m more interested in quality as opposed to a logo. I purchase a designer handbag because the materials and workmanship are superior, not because it screams my status to everyone. The unfortunate part about this equation is many do not recognize quality as a reason to purchase a particular product. Remember, just because a company has a brilliant ad campaign doesn’t mean the product is superior. By the same token, just because a product has little advertising doesn’t mean it’s inferior. Let quality be the judge, the age old standard.

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