Media has an important role to play in the luxury universe. It educates the readers; it creates more dreamers of the luxury universe and influences prospective buyers into purchasing different products through the advertisements and stories shared on various products or services.
When you open How to Spend it by the Financial Times newspaper or Vanity Fair, you see beautiful timepieces, from Piaget, Van Clef & Arpels, cristalware by Lalique, men’s scarves from Burberry, you stare at the picture, embrace the image, desire it, dream about it and talk about it and its price to your friends. If you are not a dreamer, and you are a purchaser, a lover of luxury, your next step is to purchase the object of art through your personal shopper, or during your travels. This is the role media has played to the dreamers and the client of luxury. These media are influencers of taste. Whether you buy the object or not, most readers of such media, get more informed on luxury products through content or advertising.
From luxury car magazines, one can know sit with his friends and discuss the Maserati Quattroporte limited edition with Ermenegildo Zegna limited series of only 100 cars. That reader has been influenced; his knowledge in luxury has broadened on tasteful objects. A reader now knows about Choupette, the cat and muse of Karl Lagerfeld.
When a magazine or newspaper features counterfeit products, it abuses the role it plays as an influencer of taste and educator on the finest things in life. Featuring counterfeit products sends the following messages to the readers which are not what is expected of reputable publications.
It says to us the readers:
- We do not respect artisans or craftsmen and craftswomen. The amount of time, effort, passion and love for their work does not mean anything to us. We do not appreciate;
- We support authentic products and counterfeit products and we are here to influence you to buy their products;
- We endorse poor quality, we endorse fake products and we also endorse quality and authentic products at the same time, as we as a magazine have no standards;
- We encourage counterfeiters to continue with their trade and we are here to support them;
- We are not influencers of taste, or educators on taste, since we cannot tell the difference between counterfeit and original. Therefore, we are also not well-informed about luxury;
- We do not believe in authenticity, after all, we just need readers to buy our magazines.
- We do not endorse the fight against counterfeit products (make up, apparel, bags, etc.) therefore, it is not our fault if you use a product that affects you.
Globally, from Nigeria, to London, to Paris, we have artisans and craftspeople whose work has influenced our views when purchasing products or dreaming about these beautiful items. From Deola Sagoe from Nigeria, David Tlale (South Africa), Karl Lagerfeld, and John Galliano while at Dior, etc majority of the consumers of luxury gained their knowledge from publications.
Luxury houses invest a lot of money in publications in advertising of their products of art. They also invest a lot of money in their Public Relations departments to create awareness and knowledge to their clients and dreamers on various aspects of luxury from heritage of a product such as Krug champagne known as Le Clos de Mesnil which costs at least 800$ per bottle, to informing people about their museums such as the Patek Philippe museum in Switzerland which shares its heritage of 500 years, to the common values shared by Rolex timepieces and the golfing sport, or that Chanel No. 5 is the most selling perfume globally.
Media needs to support local artisans and craftspeople, share information and educate people on the skills of these artisans who are a very important part of an economy, the Tuareg tribesmen in Niger making silver belt buckles for Maison Hermès, the Maasai from Kenya whose blankets were a part of Louis Vuitton collections, etc.
Media needs to celebrate these artisans, educate clients and dreamers, provide knowledge on the craft for future artisans, protect their crafts from counterfeiters and be in the fight against counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods devalue the skills and craft of these artisans who have learnt this knowledge from their cultures, their families, their religions, and their environment. Fake goods devalue the passion and love an artisan or craftsman has when creating a luxury good. Media influences our tastes on luxury and that is the role it should maintain in the luxury universe.