Monday, April 7, 2008

auspicious branding

With all the drama and turmoil as of late surrounding the 2008 Beijing Olympics, one mustn't forget that while China is Communist, there are capitalists everywhere still, waiting to cash out on this event despite the debates on human rights, pollution, etc. I am always interested in seeing what the design houses are doing now to appeal to different cultures, esp. those who can afford their goods. Of what I've seen, Gucci is perhaps most shrewdly trying to jump into this cash cow, as well as widen their brand with the nouveaux riches. In comes the limited edition line called 8-8-2008.

To appeal to their Asian audience, in place of their signature teddy bear, Gucci is coming out with a signature leather panda ($6,880HKD), as well as a mahjong set covered in red Le Pelle Guccissima leather ($24,000HKD). Other products in this line also include a pair of red and gold runners, a red bicycle with leather accessories, dog tags, digital watch, etc.

I don't know about you, but as a Chinese-American who has been brought up with both eastern and western aesthetics, I feel like these products are a weak attempt to encapsulate an audience hungry for luxury goods. I feel like it's a condescending line of products that pretend to cater to the Chinese audience, when in actuality, it plays up to the most superstitious aspects of the culture to justify its allure. I look at this line and see nothing but "sucker" written all over it. The products' only tie-in with the Olympics is 2008 engraved on them (with the zeroes replaced by interlocking GGs, no doubt). The lucky color red, normally reserved for the new year's or weddings, is optimally utilized in the entire line, as if these products would also bring luck and wealth to its owner. I can't stand it, I just think that this is one of the worst ploys. Shameful, truly.

Source: TVBeauty Issue 001

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