Are The Sex And The City Girls Part Of The Coming Luxury Drought?
While Carrie Bradshaw Seeks A Life Filled With Both Labels And Love, Unity Marketing Sees Lessons For Luxury Marketers About Adding Meaning To Their Message
She is still toting Chanel handbags, and she's still sporting her signature Manolo Blahnik shoes, but there is something else that Sex And The City's Carrie Bradshaw has acquired that should make luxury marketers sit up and take notice: a sense of shopping-related morality. In key moments in the movie Carrie shows a shift away from conspicuous consumption toward a more temperate, pragmatic approach to luxury. This is another sign of a shift occurring throughout the culture. It signals that luxury marketers need to emphasize meaning over image when promoting their products to today’s consumers.
“Sex And The City, the television series, was notable for its celebration of shopping. The series made Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo household names. But the SATC movie mirrors the emerging luxury drought facing marketers today. Ironically, just as Carrie Bradshaw has reached her moment of greatest affluence, she is turning away from conspicuous consumption for its own sake,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience.
“This is true in the current U.S. economy as well: the number of affluent households is growing, but they are exhibiting an increasing disinterest in letting luxury define their lives, a real challenge for marketers competing for the affluent shoppers' luxury dollar," Danziger says.
Luxury marketers need new approaches to entice a resistant affluent consumer
In the movie many of Carrie's choices are driven by meaning and emotion, rather than indulgence and self-gratification. Danziger explains, “Carrie finds that luxury purchases are only worthwhile when they have a deep personal meaning. Carrie buys a Louis Vuitton handbag not for herself, but for her personal assistant who taught her to never give up on love, and she finds that a penthouse apartment or a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mexico are only as memorable as the people she is with.”
“Even Carrie’s wedding to Mr. Big, surely an excuse to go all-out in a celebration of the right couture in the right venue, was all wrong when it was a tribute to labels wrapped up in a Vivienne Westwood gown, but wonderful when it was a tribute to love in a vintage suit punctuated by Carrie’s signature Manolos. Carrie still loves style, but she learns that it isn’t as important to her as the people around her.”
“When Sex And The City first appeared on television, it set off a tidal wave of luxury awareness, with consumers from Manhattan to Minot copying Carrie’s choice of shoe, handbag, and beverage. If the movie has the same effect, Carrie’s new-found emphasis on love over label will resonate with the luxury consumer, and marketers will need to work harder to communicate why their products offer both style and substance.”
Danziger to offer webcast called the "Coming Luxury Drought" to help luxury marketers find ways to reach the newly resistant affluent consumer
Meet the Temperate Pragmatist luxury personality -- they are affluent, they are mature, and they are luxury marketers' worst nightmare. They are a new segment of luxury consumer who finds the luxury lifestyle just not all that important in their lives.
Danziger’s new webcast will examine the cultural factors that are causing affluent consumers to cut back on their luxury spending. It will present ways that luxury marketers can tap the shifts in consumer psychology to overcome a newly resistant affluent consumer and create a loyal relationship with them. "The Coming Luxury Drought: What Luxury Marketers Need to Know and What They Can Do About It" will be held Thursday, June 26, 9-10am EDT; see www.unitymarketingonline.com for more details.
"The Temperate Pragmatist recently emerged in the luxury market and is a new challenge for luxury marketers, who can take a lesson from this new hit release. Just as Sex And The City the television series made luxury brand names hot, the movie has the potential to emphasize the trend toward limiting one’s luxury purchases to the ones that have meaning in one’s life," says Danziger.
"Luxury marketers need to understand this, and they need to communicate clearly why a purchase of their brand goes beyond the label and becomes a celebration of love, independence, family, and self-confidence -- all values that the newly-pragmatic Sex And The City girls exemplify."
"The message of the movie is clear: it is still fine to celebrate your life's triumphs with a great pair of shoes or a cosmopolitan made with luxury spirits, but these indulgences mean nothing if your heart is not in the right place."
- Pam Danziger's webcast "The Coming Luxury Drought" Thursday June 26 9:00-10:00 a.m. eastern (other times tbd)
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