Thursday, 10 January 2013

Frenzied Marketing to the Chinese?

The signature quilted look on the handbag is distinctive
We are amused to see how desperate luxury brands are in chasing the mainland Chinese market.

After all, its brand-conscious consumers are the ones propping up the Eurozone economy.

A local business columnist made the observation that some brands that used to be understated chic are now making their logos bigger and shinier.

A friend of mine who has worked and lived in Geneva for many years once told me that you probably would find there are more and bigger Bally stores in Hong Kong than Switzerland, the birthplace of the label famous for its women's handbags and shoes. My friend also reminded me that Asian consumers may also find designs by Bally in Europe too "low-profile" from the perspective of the size of their logos. In Asia, the bigger the logo, the more high-profile and attractive it will be. And it is not only what Chinese consumers prefer, but also Indian people, according to some luxury salespeople.

Chinese dragons embroidered on Ferragamo handbags
He cited the examples of Burberry and Salvatore Ferragamo, both of which emblazon their handbags and shoes with logos to ensure everyone else looking at the wearer will immediately know what they are wearing, and thus give a boost of self-esteem to the wearer who also has a much lighter wallet.

With Chinese New Year fast approaching, some are on shopping sprees to buy brand-name gifts for clients or bosses in the hopes of having favours returned.

As for Burberry, we can spot that signature tartan miles away...

It's a pity that Ferragamo seems to have resorted to these design/marketing tactics when many loyal customers buy their shoes for the reason that the brand is stylishly low key.

The Italian fashion house also has a handbag that is appropriately in fire engine red, with a golden dragon embroidered on the leather, as well as a scarf of the same design.

Originally launched in time for the Year of the Dragon, there is only a limited number of the handbags, but it seems they are still showing them in the boutiques which probably means not all of them are sold yet.

Microfilm poster for Cartier's Chinese romance
And then there is Cartier.

It recently launched its latest engagement ring called Destinee and accompanying it is a video promoting the theme of "True love has a colour and a name".

The French jewellery brand has created three other short movies and this is the fourth.

The story?

Set in Paris, a group of friends celebrate a wedding. The setting is romantic, held outdoors in a garden, floral arrangements abound and rose bushes. Two of the invited guests used to be a couple, but don't know the other is coming and there is an awkward moment.

The guy is a handsome young Englishman, and the girl?


She's played by Taiwanese actress Michelle Chen who recently starred in You Are the Apple of My Life.

Check it out:

We get the feeling the whole story is contrived... why an English guy when every other person is French? And why a Chinese girl who doesn't seem to have any connection with these people?

Perhaps it requires a cynic to suspend belief for seven minutes.

But we're sure the Chinese will lap it up... or will they be annoyed by what they may see as imperialist connotations of a Chinese girl marrying a laowai?

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