George Parker: Let Them Eat Cake

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com. Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

For a long time one of the long established rules of marketing and sales, was that the higher you went up the food chain in the luxury goods business, the less brands were affected by downturns in the economy. The Rolexes, Cartier’s, Tiffany’s and Louis Vuiton’s, plus the retailers selling these brands, such as Saks, Barney’s and all the other places where people with more money than brains love to blow dumpster loads of cash, would be able to ride out recessions easier than those manufacturers and retailers catering to the unwashed masses.

Well, it would seem that this may no longer be true, because apparently, the current economic situation is now starting to affect even these high flyers. The rich are opting for less obvious shows of consumption, and there are numerous signs that even people of substantial means are not spending as much as they used to. The high end British department store Harvey Nichols, which specializes in expensive luxury goods, recently posted a 40 percent drop in profits and a 5 percent drop in sales primarily due to massive discounting in an effort to increase store traffic.

Saturday’s New Times had a two page feature on the massive discounting of high end champagnes about to take place in liquor stores prior to the holiday season. Sales of champagne to Britain, which has traditionally been a huge guzzler of bubbly as we are a nation of piss artists, are down by a third in the last year and by almost half in the United States. The only place they are up, along with most other luxury goods, is China. But why should you be surprised? After all, they have all our fucking dollars.

So, where does this leave the ad biz and the remaining people lucky enough to have a job in the world’s dumbest business? Luxury brands will continue to spend, but certainly not at the rate they traditionally have. Tiffany was recently reported as slashing their marketing budget by more than forty percent. And I don’t see a significant move into less expensive social media. I mean what fucktard in the market for a diamond ring or a Ferrari gets influenced by a tweet, or the offer of a bag of virtual spuds on Farmville?

Perhaps though, with the reports of the good times returning to the wankers on Wall Street in the shape of multi-million dollar, end of year, bonuses, the yacht brokers can heave a sigh of relief, and the good news is that a Panerai Luminor Submersible watch is almost 17% cheaper than last year at a mere $7,000. Or, you could do what I do, take a stroll down Canal Street and pick one up for $50. I guarantee you your douchenozzle stock broker friends won’t know the difference.

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.

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