Luxury brands like Dior show a world upside down

Dior, founded by Christian Dior in 1946, is not just a huge luxury brand but a significant component in one of the most powerful companies on earth, LVMH Moet Hennessey of which it owns 42 per cent. Both Dior and LVMH are chaired by French tycoon Bernard Arnault.

Times was when such luxury brand were niche businesses, albeit occupying often highly profitable niches.

But now their success in marketing to emerging economies, chiefly China and other parts of the Far East, and the logic-defying tendency of the rest of us to keep shelling out for pricey products that are more a triumph of packaging than formulation means that such purveyors of luxury are far bigger and richer than other companies that make things like cars and machinery.

Their ads too have grown more ambitious although (usually) revolving around lavishly-filmed beautiful people. As in this latest from Dior and director Jean-Jacques Annaud which broke on French TV over the weekend.

It’s a spin on the popular standby of incorporating spruced up old footage of deceased stars (in this case Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe) in a new film, in this case starring the equally glamorous (and South African, not French) Charlize Theron.

Historically luxury brands would take a tumble in tough economic times but, in today’s topsy turvy times, it’s clearly not tough for everybody.

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