You’re more than likely aware that the 89th Annual Academy Awards took place this past weekend.
The majority of coverage has been focused on the “Best Picture” blunder, where the cast and crew of La La Land were mistakenly called on stage to accept the award intended for Moonlight…yikes.
Source: YouTube / ABC News
In addition to blunder/upset media attention, the Oscars, Grammy’s and other award shows bring about a wave of fashion coverage.
Between “Who Wore it Best” pieces and “Hot New Jewelry Trend” articles, the airwaves quickly fill with pictures of celebrities on the red carpet. Readers and viewers get to take an “inside look” at the brands, styles and costs of celebrities’ clothing and jewelry.
Obviously this is expected of gossip magazines and tabloids, but this type of coverage is also seen in high fashion and business publications.
This article is a thought piece…
While there’s no denying the influence of celebrity, are these types of articles conveying the proper message or hindering the jewelry industry’s rebound?
Jewelry News Coverage
To begin with, I want to highlight the difference between “trend” articles and the articles to which I’m referring now.
Jewelry / fashion trend articles are a staple of the industry.
They’re of a mutually beneficial structure in which manufacturers, designers and retailers get to market new styles and pieces that are on the market, while consumers and readers gain information on upcoming styles. These are the standard benefits of a PR campaign.
The articles to which I’m referring to now, however, are significantly different.
Covering styles by way of celebrity differs from highlighting the cost and extravagance of the pieces they’re wearing.
If you research the jewelry industry as much as I do, you probably know what I’m referring to…
Conduct a search on “jewelry” or “jewelry industry” news and you’ll find results that look like this.
They’re almost always featured on the first page of search engine results and they’re POTENTIONALLY THE ONLY jewelry news that the average consumer sees.
Shifting Attitudes on Luxury Goods
I’ve covered previous marketing blunders and have highlighted the disconnect between millenials and the jewelry industry.
Between insurmountable student debt, public apprehension to support diamond/gemstone mining and the lack of a “traditional” life course, millenials aren’t buying jewelry in the same way as previous generations - nor are they buying it for the same reasons.
Millenials have witnessed the recession firsthand and have experienced its widespread effects. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for the average millennial to have mixed feelings towards wealth and extravagance.
To many millennials, extreme wealth is synonymous with greed - and at the very least - the flaunting of wealth by way of indulgence brings about negative feelings.
I’m not commenting on whether or not this is the correct point of view to have, I’m only stating that it’s a prevalent sentiment among the millennial generation.
This is part of the reason why Bernie Sanders was the choice candidate for the overwhelming majority of millenials and why criticisms of the super rich are far-reaching.
To be fair, this attitude isn’t proprietary to the millennial generation, either.
Luxury good markets across the board have suffered in recent years. A lack of disposable income and an increasing resentment towards frivolousness are likely to blame.
In tough economic times where some have so much and others have so little, people of all ages and all economic backgrounds have shifted their attitudes on wealth, extravagance and luxury.
Problems with “Priceography” Articles
Getting back to this article’s initial thought...Are Articles Like These Helping of Hurting Us?
We need to consider the most probable reaction of the average consumer when they come across articles like these.
What’s the purpose of these stories? Are they supposed to make us feel good? Are they supposed to be informative?
I call these types of pieces “Priceography”:
They cover wealth for wealth’s sake. Their only purpose is to celebrate and call attention to cost and outrageous wealth.
Our society’s obsession with celebrity culture isn’t going to go away, I think we can all be certain of that. In that regard, there’s most certainly a sector of journalism where these types of stories are appropriate.
My issue with “priceography” articles is NOT the amount of wealth that celebrities possess.
I’m not criticizing or taking objection to affluence.
I do believe though that this type of coverage is damaging, not only to the jewelry industry, but to the luxury goods marketplace as a whole.
To many, these types of articles could associate the jewelry industry with over indulgence and insensitivity. If consumers are distancing themselves from luxury goods - either due to economic necessity or social stigma - then perhaps “pieceography” articles that focus solely on cost and extravagance are not the best stories to associate with jewelry and jewelry industry news.
The luxury goods market needs to adapt its messaging and there’s a BIG difference between fashion trends and perceived overindulgence.
What Do You Think?
Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear your feedback.