Why People Buy Luxury Brands

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lux flood

At some point in your adult life, you realize you’ve sacrificed most of your personality in the name of economic considerations whether these considerations are real or constructed – biological or status-seeking.

It’s at this point in your lifestyle-and-career that you begin to need inanimate objects that seem to have a personality – just the thing you lost over the course of your Consumerist “life.”

So I posit that the “need” for BMW, Prada, Disney, Iphone and Haagen Dazz is created by people who’ve lost their souls to Consumerism, and are aggressively trying to buy it back.

Sadly, I’ve never seen this strategy succeed in replacing the real personality that a consumer drone lost in himself. You can’t buy back a lost soul. You can only stop being distracted by snake-oil salesmen mythology and wait patiently as it (hopefully) grows back.

For many people, luxury items like cars and mansions are a “need” that they have, though it can’t really be logically demonstrated how the possession of these objects really helps improve their lives. Most owners of automobiles – for example – spend a quarter of their waking lives driving, parking, or paying for their life-improving object.

Hard to believe humanity is willing to sacrifice most of its free time in order to buy the “luxury” of spending time listening to CDs in traffic. It may be true that leather is more “luxurious” than cloth upholstery, but it’s also true that free time is far more important to anyone’s happiness than leather upholstery.

All of this identity-seeking-via-products is constructed via marketing and branding. These products have little to do with relieving any craving that people just naturally have. Cavemen didn’t sit around pining for the day they could tear around corners at 120 kmh in Corinthian leather. They were just happy being able to eat food, hang out, and live out of water.

Of course, some would say we’re so much more sophisticated now because of our sudden attraction to brands and machine pedigree. Others might ask, “Why do we have to leave our homes because of the floods?”

:: Capital, Volume One
:: Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen
:: A lively PoFo discussion on this essay

thanks for bumper cars

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4 Responses to “Why People Buy Luxury Brands”

  1. dgun Says:

    Don’t hate me because of my $200 Ray-Bans. Hate me because I look really cool in them.

  2. qatzelok Says:

    OH MY GOD… You’re Tom Cruise?

    It’s like every gay high school senior’s dream!

  3. Belgarath Says:

    The fact is that humanity IS spending a great deal of its life driving – or stopping in a traffic jam – to and fro, refueling and maintaining it’s vehicles. So why not do it on leather that is actually comfortable, with a nice sound system and a seat warmer to keep you cozy in cold dreary days?

    • qatzelok Says:

      Making commuting more enjoyable is similar to keeping the lawn in front of Abu Ghraib well groomed and full of seasonal flowers. Besides making the best of a bad situation, it also masks an atrocity with some signs of goodness. And these signs end up branding something horrible into “something wonderful.”

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