lap of luxury
Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 17, 2009 05:18 PM
In 2007 Nielsen named Gucci the world's "most desirable luxury brand" – and that may be symbolic of Gucci's "awareness problem." Gucci's high profile makes it a primary target of unsavory merchandisers who produce cheap knock-offs. Counterfeit luxury brand products are a dilemma, because they cheapen a brand's image and siphon off sales. (A similar problem apparently plagues the AK-47.)
But the problem won't easily go away -- fakes have found a huge audience on online auction sites like eBay. People who want to look chic but can't afford the real thing seem to be just as happy with a facsimile.
Well, Gucci isn't going to take it anymore. The Italian company is teaming up with renowned auctioneer Christie's to "provide a trusted venue for transactions of vintage Gucci items," says Patrizio di Marco, Gucci's chief executive.
In conjunction with the site, a Gucci museum will open in Florence in 2010, the year prior to the brand's 90th anniversary. Christie's will work directly with the museum's archivist to evaluate items for potential sale at auction.
The "Gucci Collector" site will allow people who are seeking appraisals to upload images of Gucci items for appraisal. Of course, it won't really prevent widespread counterfeiting, but it's a modest start. The real purpose of the site, though, may be to call attention to the brand's heritage. "In terms of brand awareness, Gucci has a fantastic following, a lot of history and craftsmanship that deserves more exposure," Christie's director of fashion and textiles, Patricia Frost, tells the New York Times.
A museum of vintage Gucci items, a website that values Gucci items... who knows, maybe the Gucci police will be next.