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

Premium Disaster …

So before I begin with my post, I have some good news …

This will be the last post for 13 days.


I’m in China all next week and then when I return, I’m having 3 days off – of which one of them is to celebrate Otis’ 5th birthday!

Five. Can’t believe it.

Anyway, I know I’ve just made your impending weekend more enjoyable so have fun and see you when I’m back on the 12th … though there will be a special birthday post the day before for my little one.

So now back to the post …

One of the things I hate is when a client mistakes being premium priced for meaning they have premium customers.

That just isn’t true, even more so now with the access to finance. Seriously, it’s like banks deny the 2008 crash never happened. Mind you, when you’re bailed out by the public, it didn’t.

Anyway …

Being premium priced – especially when the brand is in a mainstream marketing and comparing themself to mainstream competitors – simply means you cost more.

There may be reasons for that cost premium.

Great and valid reasons … but that doesn’t mean the audience who are buying the products are more sophisticated or educated.

If anything, it might be the opposite.

Some may be doing it to overcome their insecurities.

Some may be doing it to satisfy their delusional ego.

Some may be doing it because it represents something they’ve worked – and work – hard for and want to protect or defend or nurture.

But whatever the reason, the vast majority of people who choose these brands are, in the main, everyday people who justify the price premium because they offer something additionally appealing – be it professional, functional or emotional.

There is nothing wrong with this.

There is nothing unappealing about this.

In fact, it is an amazing, given we are talking about people making decisions that cost them more because something is so important to them.

And yet so many marketers want to feel their customers are the wealthiest and most discerning of all, ignoring the fact that if that were true, then their product wouldn’t be premium priced, because for the wealthy, it would be cheap.

I recently had a meeting with someone from a mainstream, mass market brand who tried to convince me their customers were the 1%, despite all evidence proving otherwise. They also tried to claim their marketing was ‘high-brow’ as it meant only the wealthy would truly ‘grt it’.

That’s right, they were suggesting intelligence was linked to wealth.

I know a lot of people may believe that, but even if it were true – which it isn’t – they are mistaking wealth for opportunity … which I appreciate is becoming more and more influenced more by being able to afford a private education given governments are underfunding state options, ignoring the fact an educated population creates greater possibilities for the entire nation.

I digress.


Sorry, it’s just these are subjects that make me so angry and upset.

Anyway, I cannot tell you how much fun I had putting them right … how much I enjoyed explaining to them that their audience were far more in line with average household income than the 1% … but at the end of the day, I know it was all in vain because every single day, I look at ads and see ‘premium priced’ brands acting like their customer base are better than everyone else, which ultimately demonstrates marketing is less about understanding your audience and more about comforting the boardroom ego.

21 Comments so far
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A fragile ego makes companies believe ridiculous things.
It also ensures they will never achieve what they are capable of becoming because they are incapable of understanding the role they actually play. Good post and excellent revenge.

Comment by George

Fragile ego makes every bad thing happen.

For more evidence, just follow @realDonaldTrump on twitter.

Comment by Rob

The counter to this is they know exactly what they are doing but claim they appeal to premium customers (whatever that means) to disguise the fact they are targeting the financially irresponsible or financially challenged.

Comment by Pete

You don’t work at cynic anymore Pete.

I would love to say what you suggest isn’t true, but I would imagine a small group of companies or categories act this way. Alcohol or gambling brands for example. I still believe the majority who act this way fall in to the ego camp. That still isn’t positive but it is less evil.

Comment by George

If they are calling their product, premium priced, they are acknowledging that despite the added features or services on offer, their audience will need to stretch to buy it. But if they then claim the audience that buy their product is made up purely of the 1%, then they are ego driven idiots.

Comment by Bazza

Well said Baz.

Comment by Rob

This —> “And yet so many marketers want to feel their customers are the wealthiest and most discerning of all, ignoring the fact that if that were true, then their product wouldn’t be premium priced, because for the wealthy, it would be cheap.“

Comment by Bazza

Why is everyone ignoring he’s having another paid holiday and this one is lasting almost 2 weeks. He has more freebies than an oscars gift bag.

Comment by Billy Whizz

It’s not a freebie holiday. I have to get up before 12 and answer emails and everything.

Comment by Rob

There is a large gap in many organizations regarding their customers. Even those who get it right often limit their understanding to transactional behaviours.

Comment by Lee Hill

Your purchasing habits exemplify the point you are making.

Comment by John


Comment by Bazza


Comment by Northern

Dear Otis is turning 5?
Love him.

Jemma xox

Comment by Jemma King

be grateful to jill not campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

Spending money to feel good isn’t a good thing. People should save their hard-earned money and use it to better their lives. Of course this would put opportunists out of business. All a person can do on an individual level is to refuse to get sucked into commercial hype and schemes.

Comment by Alien Resort

campbell took all my money, spent it on shit and his life is fucking fine.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m thankful for everyone who comes here and makes me laugh.
Mostly at you, but a laugh is a laugh.

Comment by DH


Comment by andy@cynic

It’s quiet without you Rob. Too quiet.

Comment by DH

It’s great.

Comment by Billy Whizz

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