Selling the high life to a consumer who can’t afford it


In recent years, the luxury market has seen a dramatic shift in consumer interest. Once the pastime pleasures of the privileged, modern luxury goods and services have proliferated even the most mainstream areas of consumption. This democratization of the luxury market has introduced five dollar lattes to the working class and Issac Mizrahi, Vera Wang and Viktor and Rolf couture to Target, Khol’s and H&M shoppers.

Popular haute lifestyle magazines such as Vogue, W, and Gourmet, report an average readership with an annual household income of approximately $60,00- 70,000 a year. Vogue, for example, reports the following demographic makeup of its circulation:


Female / Male: 88% / 12%

Median Age: 36 years

Media Household Income: $64,882

The majority of advertisers in this media right now are luxury brands.If you pick up one of these publications, you’ll see pages and pages of ads and editorial touting products the majority of its readership could never afford. It makes sense that luxury brands would (and should) advertise in publications like Vogue, but are these brands working to influence an audience who won’t be able to actually buy its products and improve its sales?

It’s clear that mid-market companies are increasingly producing affordable luxury lines.For some reason though, when I read luxury magazines, I don’t see a strong presence of these new products and services. I’d like to see more brands take advantage of the fact that this media sells the romance of luxury ifestyle but leaves many of its readers eager to find a more affordable means to buy into this high life. A few companies have begun heavy ad campaigns in this media; Wal-Mart, Target and, recently, JC Penny (with the help of Saatchi’s “Every Day Matters” ) have smartly created campaigns that target these average epicureans and purchased space in media like Vogue.

I created a really rough sample (expedia-makes-luxury-travel-affordable.ppt) of what one brand, Expedia, could create as advertorial content to appeal to readers.This kind of content could extend into a wiki-style, social networking microsite where Expedia insiders, travel experts, socialites, and everyday travelers alike could use to upload their best suggestions and experiences in creating the ultimate affordable luxury travel experience.


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