Exactly the opposite of what you're getting from it, apparently.
It's fair to say that I've been investigating and exploring the world of luxury goods for quite a while. That is not to say I've been buying a lot of it because frankly, my own personal tastes are rather simple. But what makes them luxury goods is not.
It's also fair to say that I've been investigating and exploring the expenditure of money when it is not related to want or need. I know a guy with four or five Tag Heuers. But he also has a watch that he bought on Amazon for one simple reason: It was a dollar. This dollar watch is more interesting to him than his Tag Heuers because, well, he doesn't know anyone else with one and it was a dollar. I've got a buddy whose dad has a much-loved Omega Speedmaster. Said buddy usually buys a fake Omega or two every time he goes overseas; as they tick they sound like tin foil going through a typewriter but he's never paid over 500 Baht for one (about $14). Clearly there's some self-irony there but I mean... he's got a half-dozen.
I don't like The Last Psychiatrist. He has nothing but scorn and contempt for the whole of the world. But I won't pretend he doesn't have insight from time to time. And the marketing and building of brand for something that most people will never buy is interesting to me. How, exactly, do you position your company such that the people who can buy it come to you?
Which is the kind of tagline a person who wants to be a wealthy, complicated, precise man who doesn't fall for tag lines would fall for. The man in the photo is not a representation of the target demo; he is the impossible aspiration of the target demo. That explains how the kid can be in a sweater vest and not trying to murder his family.
So there's the snark. What does the non-snark say?
In that article, Tim Calkins, professor of marketing at Kellogg School of Management answered: “How do you sell a $25,000 watch when people can buy an accurate one for $10? Patek Philippe’s 'Generations' ads, featuring fathers and sons and the line, 'You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.' A Patek watch isn’t a device for telling time. It’s an heirloom that transfers values across generations.”
So to get anything out of it, I have to tune out the snark. But I can do that, because I've long since determined that The Last Psychiatrist is mostly writing for his own therapy and I've listened to bipolar narcissists howl at the moon my entire goddamn life and I know they aren't entirely deranged the trick is to pull out the insight without getting buried in the bullshit.
So what appealed to me and made me think was the art of selling as applied across a demographic that you don't necessarily think is going to buy your product. Not now, anyway, and maybe never, but it's important to the people that do buy your product that they know what it stands for.
Funny thing happened to me this quarter. I had to relearn what "jewelry" means. Growing up going to rock and gem shows, "jewelry" was semiprecious faceted stones surrounded by just enough gold or platinum to show off the rocks. But in my intro jewelry class, we had copper, brass and nickel silver. Garbage materials. So I made a bunch of ugly shit. Once I got some sterling I tried a little harder but still... eh. Give me a garnet cabochon? Hell yeah I'm all over that let's set it in something small and dainty but for me, it wasn't jewelry unless it was obviously expensive materials. But check this out:
That's a Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklace. That's a design they've rawked for 50 years. It's about $1 worth of onyx and like $40 worth of gold and right now, to you, it's $2600.
And on the one hand, WTF. And on the other hand, Van Cleef & Arpels gets more for $41 worth of rock than some Etsy fuck gets for 3 carats of diamonds and opal because they're Van Cleef & Arpels. And that design? That design has worked for fifty fuckin' years.
I discovered Rene Lalique last night. Now - I wear Lalique for Men when I wear cologne. It was given to me by a girlfriend a long time ago who liked the way it smelled on a gay newscaster she didn't get to bang. And whatever, I'm fine with it, and it's a singularly '80s scent so nobody else rawks it (like anybody wears cologne anymore anyway) but all I knew about Lalique is it was stinkum.
But now I'm examining the whole luxury world again and Lalique is a glass and enamel company going back a hundred years that was founded by a guy who fucking owned art nouveau enamel and his shit is in museums and the brand was owned by three generations of Laliques before they sold out to a conglomerate that, ten years after buying the brand, decided two years ago that fuckin' hell it was worth more to be Lalique than to pretend to be a conglomerate so they folded all their other brands into Lalique.
That shit's in a museum. And it's fundamentally influential on art for the past hundred years. And fuckin' hell - now I like my cologne more and all that?
That's the stuff that this article touched on.