It Takes Money To Make A Show Of Money

According to BusinessWeek, Joseph Nunes, marketing professor at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and two colleagues studied shifts in the styles of Louis Vuitton and Gucci handbags marketed in the U.S. before and during the recession.
“Everybody was saying, ‘the age of the conspicuous consumer is dead,'” says Nunes, so one might expect logos to shrink and brand identities to be more subtle. In fact, both companies “turned up” the prominence of their brands from January 2008 to May 2009, the researchers concluded. The study also examined the prominence of logos in advertising for other luxury handbag makers and found that none toned down their ads. One–Burberry–emphasized its brand further.
Anxiety about the economy did drive some rich consumers to cut back, even when they could afford to spend. Yet much of their frugality was symbolic, says Harvey Hartman, founder of the Hartman Group, a consumer research firm. They would “try to cut one thing, but they’ll spend more somewhere else,” he says.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.