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Targeted Marketing: Appealing to the Elite (Part 2 of 3)

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Continued from Part 1

The number one most-desired brand in the world is Gucci, which also owns Yves Saint Laurent and Sergio Rossi. Michael Macko, the director of fashion at Saks Fifth Avenue, explained to Forbes why Gucci is so alluring. “Gucci manages to offer high fashion and very commercial items. That iconic red and green stripe is some of the most iconic luxury branding ever created, and people want a piece of it.”

When Gucci opened its new store in New York City, they planned their marketing carefully. First, a grand opening that was well-advertised; second, the launch of a “Gucci Loves New York” handbag collection; and third, all profits from the handbags went to a charitable cause, which was also well-advertised.

The second most desirable brand in the world is actually two brands, Chanel and Calvin Klein. The two brands tied. Chanel’s success is attributed to its relevance, according to Forbes. Which means constant refreshment of products in the area of styling. Chanel’s luxury products are timeless. Marketing of this ageless quality is accomplished by identifying the products with the most beautiful women in the world. Chanel’s current celebrity symbol is Keira Knightley. Her presence implies exclusive beauty.

Calvin Klein’s worldwide sales were $4.5 billion in 2006. The appeal of Calvin Klein’s luxury products is due to the company’s contemporary designs, which present an image of cool arrival. Calvin Klein’s marketing revolves around the deliberate presentation of this carefully fostered image of cool confidence, which speaks to the desires.

Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior hold down the final spots on the list of the world’s most desirable brands.

The marketing efforts of these highly desirable brands are interesting to examine. In each case, the marketing targets the emotions of potential affluent customers. This is accomplished by combining the customer’s desire for recognition with a recognizable symbol. More often than not, the symbol is a celebrity. Which sends a message of universal romantic appeal to the customer.

Using celebrities to market luxury goods and services is not new. The idea has been around for a long time. Lord Byron, who was arguably the first worldwide celebrity of modern times, may have been the first marketing celebrity. His publisher utilized Byron’s rock-star fame to sell books at a rate unheard of before that time.

Ever since then, celebrities have been associated with luxury goods, especially in the fashion world. However, there is more to it than simply hiring a celebrity to wear or endorse a luxury product. A viable celebrity must have influence in a number of areas, including religion, politics, culture, sports, the stage and screen, art, and music. Indeed, in today’s world, musicians maintain a position of tremendous influence, along with movie stars.

BrandChannel reports that the utilization of celebrities in marketing products has doubled over the last decade. Fully 25% of all marketing campaigns now use celebrities. For example, Versace marketed its luxury products using first Madonna, then movie stars Demi Moore and Halle Berry. Gianfranco Ferre’s marketing campaign was built around Julia Roberts. Dior selected Sharon Stone as its marketing nobility. Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, and Scarlett Johansson have been the marketing faces of Louis Vuitton.

Never underestimate the psychology of elitism in marketing to the affluent. Using an outstanding and recognizable celebrity to market a luxury product makes that product stand out from all the other offerings. It is recognizable. Therefore, it carries recognition. And recognition is the idea the affluent customer is looking to purchase.

Along with recognition, celebrity marketing provides instant credibility to any luxury product or service. It also positions the product so it appeals to the emotions of potential affluent customers. They “want to have it,” because the celebrity has it. Since celebrities are, in a sense, the court aristocracy of the modern world, they are the crème de la crème. Thus if they have it or use it, other elites want to have it and use it, too.

Celebrity marketing can revitalize or support the chandelier-effect of a brand. Because the paparazzi pursue certain celebrities wherever they go, celebrity marketing generates much of its own publicity and promotion, especially in the areas of luxury clothing and accessories. Some celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, can create global marketing opportunities by simply wearing or being seen carrying a luxury product. Which means celebrity-based marketing demands a celebrity recognizable by the targeted group.

Concluded in Part 3.

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About Randall Radic

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Interesting.

    I don’t think of $200K as being “wealthy.” I don’t even think of $150K as being wealthy either. To me, true wealthiness starts at around $500K.

    For example, if I make close to your idea of wealth, I still would not be able to afford Gucci or any of the other luxe brands you have mentioned. That’s because at $200K, you really only have half of that to play with, after taxes. And if you are like me with a mortgage, a business and a child in college, $100K doesn’t last very long.

    Believe me, it wouldn’t matter how much disposable income I have. I would not shop at Gucci and I would still clip coupons and look at the clearance rack.