Corporate Eye

Luxury Brand Gimmicks – Do They Really Work?

Luxury brands commonly use gimmicks to give their brands a little something extra that the commoner brands simply can’t compete with. Often these gimmicks are completely unnecessary and don’t add any real benefit at all, but they do appeal to emotional triggers that the luxury brand customer responds to.

Infiniti recently launched an ad campaign for the 2011 Infiniti M that is filled with luxury brand gimmicks.  Do you want a car with an air conditioning system that mimics the gentle breezes of a rain forest?  How about a wood-grain dashboard sprinkled with silver dust?  You can get both in the new 2011 Infiniti M.

Unfortunately, the pixie dust version that enables your car to fly is not yet available, although that would actually be useful, unlike the silver dust.  Alternately, you could buy a bottle of Goldschlager and pour it over your dashboard to infuse it with real gold flecks.  But I digress.

Check out the commercial for the 2011 Infiniti M below to see for yourself.

So back to my original question — do gimmicks in luxury brand messages really work.  Do they really motivate consumers with high discretionary incomes to choose one brand over another?

It would seem that the answer is yes, when those gimmicks target those emotional triggers related to being a leader, keeping up with (or staying ahead of) the Joneses, and so on.  Most of these gimmicks are fairly short-lived though, and brand managers have to come up with new ones fairly frequently to keep the attention and interest of the luxury brand consumer.  It’s an interesting difference from non-luxury branding.

What do you think?  Do gimmicks truly work in luxury branding or have they become laughable to not just the masses but also the target audience they’re trying to appeal to? Leave a comment and share your opinion.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.