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The ridiculously expensive product strategy

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which will air on CBS on 10 December, will have supermodel Candice Swanepoel flaunting a US$10 million Royal Fantasy Bra-created especially for Victoria’s Secret by fine jeweler Mouawad(pictured, above). Ridiculously priced? Absolutely.

While Victoria’s Secret’s move may come as little surprise, it’s not the only one. British luxury department store Harrods carries a US$43 cup noodle brand in its stores while jewelery brand Tiffany’s sells tennis ball holders at US$1500. Children can join in the fun too, if they have US$4 – $7k to spare for a leather gold and silver monopoly set. (See below)

And it’s not just the luxury brands. In 2008, when Burger King created a £95 sandwich, named simply “The Burger”, it was a tactic, to stand out.

“Used well this method causes no harm to brand, instead it generates headlines at the conclusion of news bulletins or gets shared across social media platforms. In short, it gets talked about,” Simon Bell, executive director strategy, Southeast Asia and Pacific at Landor Associates said.

However, this obviously doesn’t work for every brand.

If a brand known for its luxury, such as Aston Martin, were to release a ridiculously priced item the reaction may be “so what”. Whereas if an everyday brand such as KFC were to do something similar, the reaction ripples would travel further – because one is already expensive, the other is not,  adds Bell.

Jorge Rodriguez, director at Brand Alliance Group added that one of the key formulas to be successful in this tactic is to create “disruption” and one of the safest ways to do so is to come up with products that are “inaccessible”, “different”, “rare” or “only for the few”.

The point cannot be just about having a simple product with a crazy price tag but rather a product that is really special and unique, he said.

Another important consideration is limited number of units and distribution which enhances the level of uniqueness and inaccessibility.

“If they fail to deliver their product specifications and the value is not perceived, it can affect greatly the brand image and totally destroy the brand,” Rodriguez added.

So should you pick it up for your marketing strategy?

If you’re looking for luxury clients, or to reach Generation Y, Rodriguez says yes.

“This tactic often allows the brand to lift their brand image by portraying themselves as experts in their fields by raising the bar to meet the demands of their luxury clientele with media exposure,” he said.

“There is also currently a trend on being unique and personal which is driven by certain segments such as Generation Y which looks for something special to express their point of view and differences against their peers,” added Rodriguez.

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