As I was reading over Judith Williamson's articles, I found her argument very easy to relate with. I have never really thought about advertising in the sense that a person ends up buying not only the product, but it's reputation in the world as well. Sure, we often discuss how people are simply paying for the "name" or "name brand" of things, but we never really discuss the status that comes with it. For example, when a person buys a Coach or a Luis Vuitton bag, they really are paying to have that label shown on themselves and on that item. Sure, they might be nice bags, but they really don't hold your stuff any better than a bag that someone could get at Target or Khol's. The same can go for other products- many generic brands have this problem. Essentially, that Cub brand q-tip that you buy would do the exact same job as a Johnson&Johnson q-tip..but we still end up buying the Johnson&Johnson. Why? Possibly because it is a trusted brand that has been around for ever; but more than likely, it's because Johnson&Johnson is well known and popular. People want so badly to fit in that they will spend unnecessary amounts of money on products just so that other people will look at them a certain way. On top of that, the way in which a company advertises their products also plays a major role in this. Take, for example, an Armani suit. When you see a commercial for that suit, what you can expect to see is a man-probably a business man- dressed in said suit, with a briefcase and a gorgeous car. They will probably show him leaving his six-figure salaried job late at night and driving in his fancy car to a swanky bar in the city. Only to meet a beautiful woman in a gorgeous dress for a cocktail. It'll probably include low lighting and some sort of jazzy/ritzy music. Looks pretty good, doesn't it? Now think about a suit that someone could pick up at Kohls. For one, is Kohl's ever going to have a commercial just for a suit? No. And when they do include suits in their commercials, it will probably show one or two men- in different colored suits. Standing against a white background with bright lighting. They'll probably be smiling just like in a cheesy catalog and chances are it'll show up for maybe 2 seconds with a sale price in the bottom corner. Now, which suit would you want to be in? What life do you want to be pictured in? I'm guessing Armani. And that's how they do it. When you buy a product, you buy it's reputation- specifically the reputation that the company made for itself.
My question for the class is:
Who determines what companies are expensive and luxury and swanky? Do we really think the brown LV on the Luis Vuitton bags is a gorgeous pattern? I'm guessing not. So who decides which products are going to be considered the high class ones that everyone wants? And why do we want ever so badly to fit in with that stigma?
Also, here are my ads for today: