Every year, it’s the same game: “Angelina – Kate – Julia – Penelope – Keira – Natalie – WHO are you wearing?”
And so, every year, one of the biggest luxury branding events begins. While gratis Moët and expensive gift bags are reserved only for the actual Oscar attendees, there are two luxury items on show solely for us, the masses: The jewelry, and the dresses.
Not that the majority of us Oscars audiences at home could afford either of the two. As a matter of fact, the dresses that we admire from afar easily cost the same amount of money most of us hardly make in a year. And the jewelry! Which of us could even aggregate that kind of money in a lifetime of working?
But still, we care – after all, we can dream, right? And knowing those names, knowing that Reese Witherspoon and Cate Blanchett prefer Valentino (2002 and 2005, respectively) whereas Cameron Diaz likes Oscar de la Renta (2010) and Penelope Cruz picked Chanel in 2008 – it makes us feel like we’re a part of it, like we’re there. Even though we don’t have the means to actually do so, we happily buy into the lifestyle and glamour these luxury brands embody.
And so it becomes a win-win branding situation for these luxury dressmakers. From this Sunday onwards, several hundred million people around the world will again be closely following the designer fashion masterpieces on show at the Academy Awards. They will compare them, praise them, hate them, and judge them, and by doing so they will engage with each of these brands in a manner that hardly any other marketing campaign can accomplish. While not every consumer may be wealthy enough to buy into these designer brands financially, they have a way to be a part of that life-style nevertheless: As the judges deciding what’s top – and what’s not.
All the while, the small group of people who can actually afford them is given the opportunity to buy into something truly glamorous and luxurious. A dress that was worn by a famous actress at the Oscars does not need any more validation than that. It is fabulous, it is extravagant, and it is reserved for only the most distinguished of ladies. A dress that was worn and considered ‘top’ at the Oscars carries the promise of unquestioned and ‘true’ glamour that no marketing campaign could manufacture.
And so every year again, Oscar audiences around the world are eager to catch a glimpse at the latest gowns and frocks, judging and dreaming, and buying into the lifestyle they promise – mostly with their minds, and sometimes also with their money. A truly unique phenomenon – or is there anything comparable one of you out there can think of? Do let me know – I’d really like to hear your opinions on this!