With questions in my mind about product placement and how the book “The Authenticity Hoax” relates, we eagerly write this blog post. Though there were many great points in the book, we were particularly interested in status seeking and materialism. Do we want things because we really want them, or do we want things because we perceive them to be desirable? What is our motive for buying? Do these $250 Dylan George jeans do the job better than Wranglers… or are we seeking exclusivity? We think the answer has much to do with simple competition.
We don’t think people were born with the inherent proclivity to seek out high priced designer fashions, We think their behaviors were molded by society saying, “These things make you important and envied.” This brings us to the title of the post, IMM, Integrated Marketing Materialism.
There is nothing wrong with promoting products; however, we have been wondering lately how early certain niche luxury markets are starting to target their audiences. Of course, children of the stars have custom made Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, but it seems like serious materialism is rapidly affecting younger demographics even outside of Hollywood.
Certain television shows like “Gossip Girl” are aimed at teens, but the characters always wear over the top, Haute couture only available at high end stores for outlandish prices. Are these television shows telling our teens that it’s time to kick it up a notch and take a trip to Neiman Marcus for some Oscar de la Renta? You can be the judge of that after you check out this picture of Blair Waldorf from “Gossip Girl.” Blair has a $2,100 dress by Moschino, $900 Quepi Reci platforms by Christian Louboutin and a $3,400 Chanel patchwork purse. All together, her ensemble costs $6,400 plus tax and shipping (since most of us do not have access to such retailers).
To people who are remotely knowledgeable about fashion, those products are easy to identify (especially because of the red soles on the shoes). They are easy to recognize because they have been shoved in our faces for years now. To our surprise, when we investigated these products, many retailers were sold out! Obviously, their marketing strategy is working, which one do you think it is?
-Stephanie Bakolia, Claire Outlaw, David Glaubach