The picture above was spotted in Shanghai a few weeks ago.
The fact it is trying to convey a sense of luxury despite wonky lettering, sums up what is wrong with the whole ‘prestige’ category … despite the fact it is doing better and better every year.
When I was a kid, anything described as luxurious basically meant ‘rare’ and only for the ‘super wealthy’.
It could be anything from precious gems to 5 star hotels to even a colour television.
But for that rarity, you could expect to be in the company of perfection.
No mass production.
No new edition in 12 months.
Nowadays it’s all so different.
Luxury toilet paper.
The ‘luxury’ word has been hijacked by marketers and ad agencies to elevate the importance of their product – a product, that most of the time is only luxurious because of one thing.
But that price isn’t down to the craftsmanship behind the product or even the rarity [though I appreciate in some cases, it still is] it’s the price we are asked to pay to not feel like we’ve not been left behind.
At school we were told we would do well.
If you passed your exams and worked hard, you could make something of your life.
But sadly, while those traits are still super important, they’re no guarantee to success and now we have millions upon millions of people who were sold the dream of hope who are looking around asking themselves why the hell they haven’t succeeded … at least based on the expectations they were led to believe they could look forward too.
They studied hard.
They passed their exams.
They are committed to doing the best they can do.
But nothing. Nothing at all.
And this is what marketers have jumped on.
They’re selling these people the chance to feel successful … the chance to be given the momentary illusion they’re doing well, despite the fact the purchase of some of these items can lead to a lifetime of debt and even more despondency.
It’s like anti-prozac.
And what’s worse, modern luxury isn’t that luxurious at all.
There’s mass production.
There’s new versions superseding old versions every 12 months.
And we all buy into it. All of us.
I was having this discussion with a friend of mine recently – he’s a very senior, super successful marketer for a very desired luxury brand. I told him that the fact I was part of this trade made me ill and the only way I got my father to not be disgusted with my choice of career was because he could see I was committed to trying to do things the right way, not the dirtiest.
My friend looked at me and said,
“But Robert, what do you think people would feel if they weren’t given the chance to see they were achieving things in life?”
And some say marketers aren’t smart …
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