The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Louis Vuitton Go Wrong …

Louis Vuitton.

A name that conjures all manner of images in the mind.

Luxury. Sophistication. Worldliness.Travel. Wealth.

OK, so in China, it’s also known as the ‘mistresses brand’, because in the old days of China, the only people who could get their hands on the stuff were the lovers of Government officials or international businessmen who bought it when on one of their numerous overseas trips.

Now while ‘perception may be reality’, there’s some perception you don’t want and LV have spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars on changing this.

Given their success in China, you could argue it has worked – however there are two things that I think are potentially going to undermine them.

One: In their quest to keep the cash rolling in, they’re opening more stores in ‘lower tier’ markets. While this is helping wealthy people in those cities buy their products more easily, it’s putting off their core audience because frankly, they don’t want to be associated with individuals from places they regard as ‘being underneath them’.

Two: This …


OK … OK … I admit I haven’t seen this first hand [a friend sent it to me] so there is a big chance it’s either a pisstake or associated with an upcoming movie but if not, why-oh-why would they do such a thing?

While some may find a cliche-looking gangster cool, I’m not sure it fits in with the image the average LV customer wants for themselves. And what do you think is in those suitcases?

A pair of pants and some inflatable arm bands?

Probably not … and yet they have the cheek to add ‘the spirit of travel’ to the bottom of the ad.

Where are they travelling too? Jail?

And what are those ‘weapon looking things’ in the arms of the cliched ‘hired help’?

If they’re not fancy umbrellas, someone is going to be getting into a lot of trouble.

Look, I get the luxury inflation rate has pushed brands to basically make ads showing people bathing in a pool of money while burning poor people in their big, open fire but I’m not sure going to this extreme is a good idea.

If the goal was to make LV owners look so successful they don’t give a shit what others think [“Fuck you money”, as I wrote here] then I would have suggested they follow the lead of the brilliant ‘spoof’ Bentley ad below, as opposed to associating with people who might kill you if you even look at them funny.


36 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I really hope that’s a real LV ad.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Is point 1 really happening? Surely LV would know that would happen or is their financial dependency on a China so great, they have to run the risk. If that ad is real, then maybe the situation is even worse than you imagined Rob.

Comment by Pete

Yes … definitely. They’re opening more stores in lower tier cities because the level of financial growth is outstripping more established markets like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Having bet the farm on China funding their growth, they have to keep feeding the machine, even if that means potentially alienating what has previously been their core audience and – more scary – the people who have given the brand its cache to those lower tier markets.

Plenty of life in the brand … but at some point, it will come and bite them, we’ve seen it with other [high-end] brands following a similar strategy.

Comment by Rob

You only posted this to show off you’re now modeling for ads. That is you isn’t it. Mr Nottingham gangster, China style.

Comment by DH

It’s amazing what they can do with Photoshop.

Comment by John

If that’s the spirit of travel, I need to book a holiday quick.

Comment by DH

Oh dear – you know you can google images don’t you?

Clearly not. Otherwise you’d see that the guy is a comedian called Guo Degang and the image has nothing to do with LV. Google also translates sites – and thus we find

“1. The original figure belongs to the “Fashion Bazaar” in November

But this is not LV’s advertising blockbuster, Guo Degang is not a spokesperson.

The picture of the photographer is Chen Man, she is “fashion Bazaar” shooting this group of photos. In fact, as early as the evening of October 12, Fashion Group President Su Mang on microblogging made this group of pictures, accompanied by her usual enthusiastic comments. ‘

Comment by John

campbell is too busy on fucking holiday to google fucking images doddsy. do you know fucking nothing?

Comment by andy@cynic

Funnily enough, I almost used that line in my comment.

Comment by John

how lvs lawyers ensured mr comedian laughed all the way to bankruptcy.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Billy Whizz

Doddsy is taking Rob’s place as killer of dreams.

Comment by Billy Whizz


Comment by Bazza

I would argue this image has everything to do with Louis Vuitton. The fact it is not authorised by the organisation doesn’t stop it being associated with them.

Comment by George

True. But the only thing they can do about this sort of thing is to behave in a way that makes such an image immediately unbelievable. Fake news anybody?

Comment by John

I agree. The problem with the fashion industry is this sort of image is entirely believable.

Comment by George

I should have known.

Interesting thing is when a brand is parodied, many think it’s a good thing but it isn’t … it’s less about the brands success and more about the ability to sense the brand is being desperate.

Still gutted it’s not real though. Bugger.

Comment by Rob

fuck me, looks like lv want to appeal to campbell type customers. but if they want to snare some of the unlikeliest, thieving rich bloke from shittinghs moolah then they better produce some fucking lv birkies but they cant be that fucking desperate.

Comment by andy@cynic

Fake gangster has fake luggage in fake shoot.
The very essence of the ‘China Dream’ …

As a colleague once remarked:
“Zhe shi Zhongguo – dou shi jiade”
(This is China – everything’s fake)

Comment by Ian Gee

Are you saying the China dream is seen as vacuous by people in China? If you are, does that mean LV are seen as contributing to the superficiality? And what is the China dream anyway?

Comment by Bazza

Which would explain why Rob says they’re opening more stores to boost the revenue they’re losing in their key cities.

Comment by Bazza

Looking for information to turn sales around in the Middle Kingdom? ;

Comment by George

Ask Xi Jinping.

Comment by John

The China Dream is roughly equal parts ‘get rich quick’ and shrill nationalism, which comes across as rather petulant. Lots of hurt feelings about phone calls, etc.

I think for most middle-class Chinese, it’s a nice idea but they’re not fooled by it. Less educated people are a different issue – dreaming of getting rich, and far more volatile when it comes to matters of perceived national pride and jingoism (a lot like America in that regard).

As for LV, its problem in China is simple. It’s become too well known, and is now a ‘Tuhao’ – ‘Rich Hillbillies’ – badge. Think Burberry and their chav problem.

It’s the ‘entry-level’ luxury brand, so the really rich in BJ/SH/GZ/SZ, who no longer want to be associated with it have moved on to more ‘exclusive’ (i.e. less familiar, less popular) brands. Leaving LV to expand in lower tier (less sophisticated) cities, where they’re chasing volume, not status.

LVMH has a large stable of brands, so they can manage this process of ‘graduation’ from one brand to another to some degree. But it opens them up to competition from the other luxury combines.

Their other problem is containing it – LV in China is pretty badly debased, and you don’t want that to spread outside China to other markets where the brand is still unsullied.

Comment by Ian Gee

The China Dream was something the Government set out as something everyone in China should aspire to achieving.

However, unlike in the West, it ended up being interpreted as yet another expectation [Materialism and achievement] … so in many ways, people see dreams [from the Western perspective] as something they had as they were younger, but not what they have as they get older.

Comment by Rob

That’s very true, Rob. The Chinese are the most pragmatic people on the planet.

Comment by Ian Gee

Thank you Ian and Rob. You will be pleased to know that is a better response than I received from our partners in China.

Comment by Bazza

why are you surprised, mal are fucking shit these days.

Comment by andy@cynic

What about the opinion I’ve heard expressed that the China Dream is seen as being insufficiently individualistic for people in their 20s and 30s?

Comment by John

The government are never going to publically promote individual ambitions when they are doing all the can to convince the nation they are still communist in its values, goals and intent.

Comment by Rob

Isn’t that why they occasionally ban luxury brand billboards in Beijing, to look like they’re upholding the communist values?

Comment by Pete

The problem may be that the China Dream doesn’t derive from the people or the culture. It’s really the Party’s Dream for China – a proud, strong nation filled with happy, prosperous people. I.e. people who won’t feel the need to question the status quo and the Party’s stranglehold on power. (And the ones who are getting seriously rich off it). So there is a propaganda element to it, and Chinese people have highly developed bullshit antennae when it comes to that.

If you want another interesting point of view on this, I recommend a novel published a couple of years ago: ‘The Fat Years’ by Chan Koonchung.

It’s worth reading just for the last chapter, which reminds me of O’Brien’s analysis of the ‘Principles of Ingsoc’ in Orwell’s ‘1984’.

You can get it on Amazon (but not in China!)

Comment by Ian Gee

The other one is ‘The Party’ … an understanding of how the government works and thinks. It’s fascinating and frightening all at the same time. And it’s another book you can get on Amazon, but not in China. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Just to complete the trifecta, there’s this piece, which helped me understand why Chinese companies are very different …

Comment by Ian Gee

This is great. Thanks Rob and Ian.

Comment by Bazza

Mei guanxi …

Comment by Ian Gee

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