From one of the blogs at Ad Age, we have some more fashionable celebration of gay marriage from the one of the premiere jewelers in America.
Here’s the ad:
The copy reads:
Will you promise to never stop completing my sentences or singing off-key, which I’m afraid you do often? And will you let today be the first sentence of one long story that never, ever ends?
Ogilvy & Mather, the agency responsible, only won the Tiffany’s account this past February.
The Holiday sales results for Tiffany’s this past season were down by 1%, with overall worldwide sales down by 3%. This news coincided with an 11% drop in the stock price.
The blogger at Ad Age was nonplussed:
Yet with Tiffany & Co. already following in the footsteps of brands including Gap, Banana Republic, Cheerios and The Knot, it’s likely that such ads will soon be commonplace, not bad ass at all — which is a good thing.
Is that good for the client, though? Is this good for Tiffany’s, which needs to turn itself around? An 11% dip in the stock price is considerable for a brand that dates back to 1837. Brands that date back to 1837 do not change ad agencies frequently.
If you look at the previous year, before the transition, holiday sales were actually up 4% for 2013 — making the results from the new agency even worse, in comparison to the momentum which was already in place, when the agency that got fired was running the show.
One of David Ogilvy’s most-quoted lines is that a copywriter needs to be both a ‘poet and a killer.’
Meaning that poetry is necessary to make the ad beguiling, but that the ad is a means to an end, and that end is to ensure that Tiffany’s doesn’t have to start firing people and shutting down stores because the ad agency is fucking up their account to agitate for social justice.
Let’s think about this for a moment.
Who buys from Tiffany’s? Who are the big customers?
Not gay men. Gay men barely get married, despite all the hooplah over it. There are two major groups of buyers of that little blue box: women and the men who love those women.
Statistically speaking, gay men are non-existent. It’s a total of roughly 9 million, including women. Some polls say 1.8% of men. If they wanted to reach just those men, they could have put the ad in Out or something like that. Instead, they promoted it nationally, to a general audience.
What Tiffany’s has done is to do more to alienate the people who are actually likely to be married, and are actually likely to get married, and are going to buy those little blue boxes as gifts for their beloved every Valentine’s, birthday, and Christmas.
Those people are overwhelmingly white, not transgender, and Christian.
Miley Cyrus praised the ad.
Miley Cyrus is the opposite of the sort of person who is supposed to be associated with Tiffany’s.
The brand identity of Tiffany is most easily phrased as “eternal love, elegant romance and priceless beauty.” Gay men tend to go for 0/3 of those. Unless you count obsessive workouts, meth addictions, and the pursuit of plastic surgery as ‘priceless beauty.’
The character most associated with Tiffany’s is Audrey Hepburn. Not Miley Cyrus.
What corporate America is going to discover as they continue going down the glory hole to social justice is that it does a lot of damage to their ability to sell things to the American core. And not just to the American core. But to the foreign affluent people who don’t believe in multiculturalism or the gay agenda or any of the rest of it.
They don’t care about this stuff in India. They don’t care about it in China. They don’t care about it in any of the Asian Tigers. It’s actually illegal in Russia. There are multiple big stores for Tiffany’s in Moscow alone!
This is a quirk of the Weimerian cities in the Anglo countries and Western Europe.
There are a lot of companies that you can buy high-end jewelry from. The main competitive advantage that this particular company has going for it is the symbolism of the blue box. That symbolism, worth more than $1 billion in sales a year, is now being associated with the thin fiction of eternal-gay-romance, a fiction that even gay men are often uncomfortable with, because it’s not borne out by reality.
The general comfort with the general unraveling in public mores is going to transition to surprise, then horror, as the results prove to diverge from the comforting fantasies of individualism taken to its logical conclusion. The empire, far from being cognizant of diversity, has become solipsistic, obsessed with its own lies of moral self-glorification.
I know a bunch of Arabs and kebab-ey folks who are gonna be really turned off by this sort of thing. And in my area, the Mercedes-driving Middle Easterners make up quite a significant portion of the clientele.
Right. These are major buyers. The growth market. And they’re the ‘diversity’ that has purchasing power. LGBLTBBQs don’t.
Colin Liddell has said very much the same thing regarding movies and cartoons. Sure you can have a black James Bond (gay Spiderman etc), sure that will create some buzz right now in the trash press. But in the long run, you are trashing your brand, and you won’t get that back.
This also goes to a long standing criticism of modern corporations (particularly American ones): there is too much emphasis on the short term.
This factor hits those comics guys pretty hard. The opinion makers praise the progressive creative direction, but then circulation dips substantially.
The critics might love gay-Mexican Spiderman, but then no one actually buys the comics.
In the leaked Sony e-mails, the executives lamented that Black protagonists result in poor sales in Asia and Europe. Those sales are necessary to support their costs of production. If Tiffany’s puts together a gay TV commercial, it could win a CLIO (an advertising prestige prize), but tank the brand’s sales, and getting more sales is ultimately the agency’s legal obligation, rather than winning prize for creativity.
This is doubly ironic because this sort of pandering is what this particular agency’s namesake argued against at length in his popular (to this day) books about the business.
Actually I think the comic guys very much understand their market. No one really cares about buying comic books, so publicity stunts help sales. And you can’t really “tarnish” the comic books because they’ve already been tarnished. In the 1990s, there were a ton of stupid experiments being done to get cheap sales because there was a huge phenomenon of speculative buying. Social justice is actually a pretty clever way to do stupid experiments in the style of the 1990s, but to do so with the pretense of “awareness” and “purpose” and everything (and this is funny because everyone laments the absurdity of the 90s, especially with Marvel).
The US comic book industry is greasy, dirty capitalism in its purest form. It always pulled whatever dirty tricks it could to stay afloat, and it needs dirty tricks now more than ever, since sales tanked as soon as the Sony Playstation was released, and bit torrent further hurts the sales.
As for Tiffany’s, I don’t really think what they did was too foolish, and I doubt their ad agency are really ideologues in any sense. They were trying to go for what Calvin Klein did when they got HIV-positive models back during the AIDS scare. They wanted to get their brand to be discussed. Maybe they made a slight miscalculation, maybe sales were just slow this year. I’d need to see sales figures from their competitors and them from the last 10 years or so to really be convinced one way or the other.
Mai La Dreapta says
In the US, at least, might SJ-sympathetic women be a big enough market to offset the losses from other groups? It seems to me that the target of the ad is not gay men, who are a tiny market, but all those dew-eyed white Manhattanites who want to be on the right side of history.
That’s whom they were thinking of, but that’s parochial on their part.
Peter Blood says
Ideology always trumps more prosaic things like profitability and existence and a good name.
Ransom Culhane says
It seems to me though, that most Americans are hugely accepting and supportive of stuff like this. The power of the mass media to orchestrate ‘moral’ narratives about the inevitable rightness of gay marriage should not be underestimated. I spend much time in the white hinterlands of America, and outside of the South, many of the ‘white Christians’ you mention have swallowed the narrative and mindlessly assert it; by doing so they gain self assurance that are “good people”.
Generally, yes, the polls support what you’re saying. Actually from my experience, the heartlanders are more authentic when they support SocJus. New York natives are much more cynical, even witheringly so.
This ad may make the readers feel good, but ads like these are ideal forms to be mimicked. Straights can’t mimic this, and gays don’t want to.
The logical conclusion of the note is that for Tiffany it is far more important to be Politically Correct than to sell more engagement rings. The same regarding Spiderman comic books. If that is right, them America stopped being a profit-seeking capitalistic regime and is now some faux-socialism a-la-Orwell’s 1984.
Well, I am not the first one to conclude so.