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Maverick's Morning Thoughts

The Secret Salespeople of Luxury Brands

Maverick Steffen  -  12/13/2023

The desirability of luxury brands isn't just in the craftsmanship or the materials – it's in the narrative and perception created around them.

This narrative often involves high-profile celebrities, whose association with these brands propels them into the stratosphere of desirability. From Connor McGregor's recent acquisition of a lavish Jacob and Company watch to the timeless endorsements of the past, this article delves into the potent mix of celebrity influence and luxury branding.

The intertwining of celebrities and luxury brands is not a recent phenomenon. In the early 20th century, luxury car manufacturers like Rolls-Royce became synonymous with royalty and the upper echelons of society. Figures like King George V and Queen Elizabeth were often seen in these vehicles, implicitly endorsing their luxury and exclusivity.

Hollywood's Golden Age saw film stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor become the influencers and brands ambassadors of their era.

Hepburn's association with Givenchy, for instance, is legendary. Her little black dress in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" became an emblem of elegance, largely due to her endorsement.

My generation, the '80s and '90s, saw a surge in designer labels gaining popularity through celebrity endorsements. Gianni Versace's bold designs were frequently sported by stars like Madonna, Princess Diana, and Elton John, amplifying the brand's appeal. Meanwhile, Michael Jordan's collaboration with Nike birthed the Air Jordan sneakers, a quintessential status symbol among both athletes and fans.

In recent years, social media influencers and celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have played a pivotal role in promoting luxury brands.

Rihanna's Fenty Beauty, for instance, revolutionized the makeup industry by putting the celebrity not just on the promotional side, but inside of the product development side as well.

While the truly affluent may prioritize quality and uniqueness, luxury brands have mastered the art of appealing to the 'nouveau riche.'

These individuals often seek to display their newfound wealth through recognizable status symbols. Brands leverage this by using celebrity endorsements to guide these consumers, subtly dictating where the newly wealthy shop and what they aspire to own.

Interestingly, this strategy has a dual effect. It not only attracts the new rich but also creates a sense of aspiration among the masses. The 'dream' sold by these luxury brands, aided by celebrity endorsements, fuels a continuous cycle of desire and consumption. It's a clever, if somewhat spicy, realization that in the world of luxury branding, the product is important, but the story – often told by the most famous faces of our times – is what truly sells.

At the end of the day, are luxury brands more about acquisition, or aspiration?

After all, they say once the dogs at the race track catch the rabbit, they can never get that dg to race again. Food for thought.


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