The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If You’re A Time & Motion Expert, Look Away …
February 5, 2010, 6:04 am
Filed under: Comment

So as I was walking to my plane at HK airport, I saw this …


Despite having all the fashion sense of a 86 year old Hungarian peasant, I do find the industry very interesting … mainly for it’s weirdness than anything relating to their output.

Whilst I am no expert in the industry, I have had – for reasons no one still has worked out – quite a lot of experience in the category, and it has always struck me that much of the industries focus [at least from the business perspective] is on producing items that are seemingly more difficult for high street retailers to reproduce than anything really connected with the evolution of fashion.

Of course there’ll be a load of people who will say I’m talking shite – and quite possibly I am – however when fashion labels are seeing the retailers they rely on for distribution, copying their products within weeks of delivery and offering a look-a-like version of them to the masses for a fraction of the cost … then their role is seemingly being re-defined as more about ‘inspiration’ than profitability.

Does that make sense?

Probably not … but I remember one fashion brand telling me that the reason they were increasing the number of lines they were producing was less about ‘creative inspiration’ and more about keeping ‘one step ahead’ of the evil retailers who pretended to be their friend but were focused on sucking them dry.

Sounds a bit like the multinational holding companies when they buy a small creative boutique doesn’t it?

Anyway not all of the fashion industry is exposed to such creative rape… at least not interms of the retailers ‘doing them’… and one area that still maintains high brand desirability is the handbag industry.

Of course their problem is they’re copied quicker than Jennifer Anniston’s fucking hair – but interms of ‘label’ magnetism – they drive women wilder than if George Clooney was strapped down naked in a town square with 5 erections.

Which leads me to the picture above.

For some reason, Gucci thought it was a good idea to have a store where there bags weren’t protected by glass … a store where you could literally touch the bag as you walked past.

Now on face value that may sound a good idea, but given the cheapest of these bags would keep America in burgers for 30 years, it’s not exactly the sort of purchase you make on a whim is it?

Let me rephrase that …

It is the sort of purchase you would LIKE to make on a whim, but for most women – it’s as much of a fantasy as having a husband who leaves the toilet seat down and doesn’t scratch his nuts in bed.

To be fair, I think the idea could be good if Gucci changed the reason for their approach from ‘making sales’ to ‘making potential’.

If they found a way that let passing women touch, hold, feel and walk along with these uber-priced bags as they were walking towards their plane [maybe along a wall of mirrors?]… they’d possibly turn ‘dreamers’ into ‘buyers’ in a much shorter time frame than relying on them to see their products through magazines or shop windows.


Either way, this current approach means Gucci have to pay 2 members of staff to be permanently located outside the store … not to help the odd passer-by, but to ensure no passenger from Liverpool/Australia steals the stuff … which seems a bit mad but then when they can justify US$15,000 for a bag that looks like an elephants scrotum in orange, I guess a frivolous use of money is part of their DNA.

36 Comments so far
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who do you think would fuck with the mind of a time & motion officer more? gucci and their stand around doing fuck all bag protection tag team or you and this time vampire blog? the prosecution rests their fucking case.

gucci get a fixed penalty fine for being twats though. who develops a fucking sample program that doesnt let any fucker do any sampling?

gucci wins the lost fucking opportunity 2010 twat award. come up on stage and collect your fist in the face trophy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Love Andy’s comment.

When will brands understand encouraging people to participate and play with them and their products will bring sales and loyalty.

The Gucci open window shop is akin to someone stabding at the North Korea border looking over at their South Korean neighbours. They can see and walk to freedom but are intimidated by guards to not do anything about it.

Comment by Pete

pete wins worst fucking analogy and collapse into planner wank 2010 twat award. come up on stage and collect your fist in the face trophy.

still like my comment then pete?

what the fuck were you thinking? were you thinking? whatever the fuck made that shit fall from your typing fingers, stop and never, fucking ever do it again. think of your wife and workmates for fucks sake.

Comment by andy@cynic

It was pretty bad wasn’t it. I’m sorry and offer unreserved apologies to my beautiful wife, colleagues and clients who have been needlessly hurt by my insensitive actions.

Can I skip on collecting the award now?

Comment by Pete

better and no.

Comment by andy@cynic

i dont think i would ever dream of a hand bag, but who knows. the high end luxury whatever fashion segment needs something that differentiates them besides being the quickest and most expensive. it sure as is not the design. at least in the end, as you say… i agree… why not store as one area… id like airport runway escalator things and mirrors in the store at the airport. a fake airport setting, in the real gucci store, at the airport. i had a drink, okay.

the point you make about bridging the gap is dead on. its not the glass. especially for women who trade up, i guess. which if looking at e.g. the economy, might be some. though, i ve not read data about that in specifics. not qualifying for an expert then. phew!

i like petes 1st comment. but im not in the jury.

Comment by peggy

Oh Pete … Oh Pete … what on earth were you thinking? And don’t say “Peggy liked it” because she’s a woman who doesn’t dream of handbags so she’s obviously not normal. 😉

Anyway back to the post … the real comment, not Andy’s lovely evaluation of it, even though there is a point where he seems to be backing up my view which is surely either some sick joke or a terrible accident? Ha.

Comment by Rob

sorry pete 🙂

Comment by peggy

So Gucci is Cantonese for left luggage facilities?

Comment by John

It seems to be doesn’t it.

Comment by Rob

Ever since my sister in law was looking to buy a £250 belt from Louis Vitton I have started to presume that this all comes down to the self handicapping idea that gets talked about in behavioural lectures. There is never going to be $15k worth of value in a handbag, the whole point is no longer about “I have a bag that is worth $15k”, it’s to say “I am so loaded I can waste $15k on a handbag that is only really worth a fraction of that”.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I can’t believe that profligacy is actually the justification – that would be an admission of insecurity and self-loathing. I think you have to add into the motivational mix, the concepts of copying and keeping up with their role models. Similar, but different.

Comment by John

I get what you’re saying Rob and I agree with you but as in most things, there’s always other reasons that can be driving such behaviour.

We did some work for Prada where one of the reasons we found that women loved bags and shoes was that regardless of how they looked or felt, a quality bag/pair of shoes always looked good so they would benefit by association … plus if the owner wasn’t feeling or looking too crash hot – they knew other womens attention would be drawn to the bag/shoes rather than the owners rough looking face.

I’ve not explained myself properly – but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say in my tired, blathering rant – and of course not every woman thinks/acts in this way, but it was a very interesting project because we realised that for some people, expensive fashion items are purchased not just to reflect’status’, but to also protect.

Going to see Muse now … have a top weekend all.

Comment by Rob

Yeah, I think that’s right. But I guess the two things are quite closely intertwined.

Muse? You haven’t reduced your love of pomp much have you?!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You know me so well …

Comment by Rob

i have probably disqualified myself with my comment last night 😉 and no one is around anymore…

but i still cant believe women are that eager to outdo other women. or is it to drive attention to the shoes or bag to get a compliment? but then having the label on it, or specific design/style, other women (at least the peers or so) would see what they are wearing. so it comes down to provoking jealousy, because it was oh so expensive? i dont get it. if 3k is the usual you spend for a handbag then its not expensive, of course. and being protected. from what? being seen as the person you might be? or being protected from others, the normal folk? thats all interesting. and rob… i am jealous you are seeing muse tonight 🙂 hope its good though!

Comment by peggy

i will fucking deny i said this but a fuck load of the 3k bags sold are to people where 3k is a fucking big deal to them. then how would visa make any cash if every fucker lived within their means.

muse? for fucks sake campbell youre tragic.

Comment by andy@cynic

thats not good for the brand in the long term, i bet. even more so if there is not that much more which differentiates it, except product design and the price, i think. especially with not only other (ready to wear and premium mass market, or whatever it is called) fashion brands, but all the real replica around. but thats no news…

ill include visa in my prayers.

Comment by peggy

why doesn’t it surprise me that you’re seeing muse. considering how much of a queen/brian may rip-off they sound right now – i guess if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

i am also not a ‘normal’ woman, so don’t have the same response to gucci as, say, rob m’s sister in law. but i have to say, what gucci and other top-shelf brands have been able to establish is a mark of longevity through quality (which, in my mind, is what you pay for when you fork out that kinda cash for a vortex that still hides your lip gloss and wallet all the way in the deepest, darkest corners).

but, rather than a lost opportunity of being able to sample, i think that the idea of sampling gucci was the wrong idea in the first place and that by having the guards in place, they’ve corrected what could have been a massive faux pas.

really, who wants gucci to be accessible. no one who really owns one – that’s for sure.

you think kanye, BIG and jay-z go on about louis vuitton because they can go and hang out with one at the closest mall? no way – exclusivity is their prime leverage and, as communesque as i am about other things, if i was advising gucci, et al, on their account, i’d suggest they invest in another security guard in the house.

doesn’t everyone know that power comes from afar?

Comment by lauren

With hindsight, I agree with you Lauren … and what’s worse is that I should never of even thought the ‘sample’ idea was valid [though in my pathetic defense I would say it was taking what they already had done and trying to extract some value from it] because one of the factors driving brands like Gucci’s “aspirational status” is the fact that they actively have ensured they’re not something everyone should be able to get their hands on … however thanks to material obsession, corporate greed and increased credit, not only has the meaning of luxury changed [it’s more now about a price point than exclusivity or quality] but society has changed so we now live in a time of massperation – where it no longer is necessary to have limited supply of an item to represent aspirational status, simply the acknowledgement of the masses that the item is ‘worthy’ of such praise.

However the reason I bow to Lauren’s view most is that the work we’ve done for Prada is all about psychological intimidation – where the whole premise is to make people feel they’ve had to work hard for their ‘label’ as opposed to letting any Tom, Dick & Harriette get their dirty little hands on it … and for that alone, I was stupid for not mentioning/thinking about that in this post. It’s also why Lauren is a better thinker than most planners. And of course I include me in that.

Saying that, one thing I don’t totally agree with is that these labels are continuing their focus on quality.

Let me rephrase that … quality of materials is still there … but in their haste to leverage the profit potential of the ‘wannabe’, some high-end brands have allowed certain elements of their process/product line to be diluted so as to ensure they can drive short terms profits.

Like Apple and the iPOD, many brands are exploiting their ‘moment in the sun’ to make as much hay as they can – and whilst the products they make are still good, in their haste to maximise every penny possible, attention to detail and innovation is starting to slip. Hey, I don’t blame them – but if you continue in this fashion, the ‘credits’ your brand has built up over the years can start to empty pretty quickly and so remembering what earnt you that right in the first place isn’t a lesson of history, but a lesson for the future too.

Great point Lauren … though as a final note, the aspirational qualities in countries does vary and so an extra guard might not always be the best way – however in this Gucci example – I wholeheartedly agree.

What an interesting thread … what’s wrong with you people 😉

Comment by Rob

jesus rob… i’m blushing!

and i have to say that i agree with you about the actual, as opposed to perceived quality. in fact, i would suggest that all said brands hike their price up an extra 10% to cover the cost of legitimately creating well-made works again – rather than talking about it. (and yes i include apple in that too). when you finally snag that elusive thing/person/dream – it HAS to be worth the desire. that’s what keeps the wheel going.

oh, and i also agree that those measures for keeping an arm’s length need to be market-specific, rob.

now, tell us how crap muse were. go on…

Comment by lauren

isnt it just the ‘dream’ of the gucci bag thats made more accessible? after all, the price issue is still there. i dont know what they had in mind with the missing glass, but that is what it says to me – they wanted to make the dream accessible. (while keeping a certain distance with the guards, so you dont get the wrong idea. of course the guards are there to have a look the stuff doesnt get stolen or to have a disparaging word for the one or the other? lol)

to me, making the dream more accessible makes sense. first, because i assumed before andy said it (or didnt say, ha) that most people who buy premium fashion brands dont just pay it with their pocket money. and because people who maybe could afford that a year or two ago, are now not that easy on cash anymore (economy and all).

i, for one, dont think gucci etc. are renowned for their quality and longevity. if people would just buy quality for a premium price, they could go to a tailor or shoemaker or buy haute couture… but then ‘quality’ has many layers…

im waiting to get grilled.

Comment by peggy

as an aside, i ve seen a short interview with christian lacroix last week. he designed the costumes for the opera agrippina in berlin. from what i ve seen its pretty cool.

Comment by peggy

Running for a plane so can’t comment properly … and before I say anything, I think I should point out I’m generalising here as it’s certainly not the case with all women nor all women who own/aspire to Gucci bags … but in my experience, for the ‘wannabe-set’, owning a Gucci bag only represents a part of the ‘dream’ because it either helps them believe they are either ‘on the way up’ or now ‘belong’ to a certain group in society they admire and aspire to.

That doesn’t mean the easier accessibility to these brands is bad from a cred/image sense – but it does mean they have to be more ‘careful’, especially as so many of these products are copied and sold on markets in Asia for a fraction of the cost – which ultimately makes them seen far too often and possibly undermines their appeal and value in the eyes of the masses.

Again, not always … but it’s becoming more so … which is why I think Tiffany’s are addressing the issue much more cleverly [even though it’s a different category at different price points] than many of the handbag fashion brands because they ‘ease’ people into their brand and move them up rather than try and get them to buy at a premium level from the off.

[As an aside, there are shops in Tokyo that buy high-end bags for resale because the desire/pressire to ‘belong’ and/or been seen as ‘elite’ is so high that young Japanese girls will “entertain” dirty old perverts if they simply go to the shop and purchase one. Tragic eh!]

I think I’m contradicting myself from my previous comments but I can’t be arsed to go back and read them, so apologies and maybe we should touch on this subject later on as it obviously has generated some top comments, even if mine aren’t among them, ha!

Have fun and Peggy, is that interview in English?

Comment by Rob

lauren is more talented than you at everything campbell. including being a man so stop acting all fucking humble and nice.

love you.

Comment by andy@cynic

um, andy, dear.. can you do some work on those backhanded compliments please?

Comment by lauren

women are never happy are they?

Comment by andy@cynic

Since when have you commented properly Rob? Or indeed run?

Comment by John

unfortunately, it is not. well, he speaks english, but the german voice over is too loud…
it will only be online for the next three hours, but ill translate the bits and email them to you… hopefully, ill be able to do this properly as im still recovering

Comment by peggy

what are you recovering from peggy? illness or alcohol?

Comment by andy@cynic

neither illness nor alcohol andy. i only went out last night 🙂

i emailed you rob. cant believe i made it, ha.

Comment by peggy

you went out, didnt drink alcohol andyou use the term “recovering”? fuck me, it better of been some s&m hardcore club or you need to get out more. lol.

Comment by andy@cynic

i usually never drink that much that i feel sick the next day and just like to stay as long as its fun. so i got home nine-ish. no need to recover from alcohol then. and it was not an s&m club, even though i went out with some gay boys lol

Comment by peggy

you sound like a night out with campbell. including the gay boys.

Comment by andy@cynic

am. i thought he is working all the time.

Comment by peggy

work? only if writing this blog can be called work and it fucking cant.

Comment by andy@cynic

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