Posted July 31, 2008 4:46 pm by with 11 comments

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Just to prove that I read other publications than the Wall Street Journal I turned my eye to a stalwart of the new media age, the New York Times. Ok, so it’s just as “old school” as the WSJ but someone has to read these things, right?

So I ran across a pretty interesting application of MySpace by Cartier of all companies. Now, I can never shop with Cartier and in fact I have a hard enough time pronouncing it but this caught my eye. Most recently, it seems that Facebook has been touted as a good option for business applications while MySpace has been relegated to the teeny-bopper space, spammers and well, let’s face facts here, social misfits. (If Andy said it was OK to write that then direct all hostile comments to him directly, thanks). As far as a networking tool I am a LinkedIn fan but that is just for networking and it isn’t really a place to sell products, especially vanity products like jewelry and accessories (I know a little about this stuff because I am married and I have an 11 year old daughter so stop snickering).

Currently Cartier has about 3,800 friends including Sting and Lou Reed which may seem eclectic but the cross sell of their music makes it much less cool and a lot more calculated. What they appear to be banking on as one of the first luxury brands to set up shop on MySpace is to reach a future audience and be top of mind. A bit farfetched in my opinion but I guess there was some research behind it.

Apparently there has been a general reluctance by luxury brands to take this route but Cartier took the risk because it was a “different way to talk to a young audience” according to Cartier’s director of communications, Corinne Delattre. I can’t say I disagree with that statement because it sure is different. Will Tiffany’s be next trying to shill chandeliers on MySpace? Stay tuned.

Since anyone can set up anything on these social networking sites there are concerns by companies that there is a lack of control in the set up of any page. Also, it is the old “how does the network make money” concern because the idea is that friends will influence friends for free so why would anyone pay for that?

In what is described as a “solution” MySpace simply requires that big brand marketers pay to put their presence on MySpace. How much is it you ask? That wasn’t given up. Frankly, this is not really a solution for anyone other than MySpace because now they are changing their model for commercial purposes because ad revenue projections are falling way short of the hype of just a few short years ago.

MySpace has even magnanimously offered to drive traffic to the Cartier site (can you say push / manipulate MySpace users?) and offered to police their “friends” by checking to see if the drunken party crowd is trying to rub elbows with Sting and company.

I don’t know about this personally. I suppose it could work and MySpace desperately wants it to. Jamie Kantrowitz, senior vice president for content and marketing at MySpace International says, “I think there’s a huge potential market for luxury advertisers {on MySpace}”.  If that doesn’t sound like towing the company line, I don’t know what does. Of course, you think it’ll be great because YOU have to sell it. As for the actual people who buy the concept, like Cartier,  are they going to be explaining away their MySpace spend after six months of no results or will they look like marketing geniuses? I guess only time will tell and if it’s with a Cartier “timepiece” you will have paid dearly to know!

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  • Being in the jewelry business I’ve seen moves like this happen before.. Most recently when Tacori went the QVC route to try to attract a new audience.. Instead, they alienated their current customer base and distribution channels (jewelry stores).. Most stores stopped carrying Tacori’s more expensive lines entirely and now they are stuck with the lower end market at the expense of their more profitable markets at the upper end..

    I can see a lot of downside to going this route..

    1. The younger crowd on MySpace is less likely to buy Cartier because that’s their “mom’s” type of jewelry.. It’s not cool, it’s not hip, it’s “old”, like what mom would wear..

    2. The older crowd will be less likely to buy Cartier because now the brand is nothing special.. It’s “everywhere” and people with the ability to buy more expensive goods like to buy more exclusive things.. It’s like getting in to Wal-Mart, nothing wrong with that, if that’s your target market.. But you aren’t likely to sell a $50,000 ring there..

    It comes down to forgetting who you are and who your market is.. I’m all for expansion and growth, but not at the cost of what you already have..

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  • Anonymous

    This is hardly a far-fetched step for Cartier. Brand profiles on the likes of MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and even the very intimately humble Twitter, are no hot news. Realistically, big brands can advertise to – and interact with – consumers with virtually no overhead costs aside from paying a couple of marketing inters to manage the friend list, update content, and monitor for obscenities. You really cannot find a better avenue to promote a brand than on social networks, cost vs. value. When done with finesse – and a little brand notoriety doesn’t hurt – achieving awareness is easy as cake. The younger crowd loves bling, that is a fact, and even if they can’t afford it, their parents can. There are virtually no stop signs preventing brands from generating and army of loyal followers on social networks. Socnets are only one of many places where one may spend one’s time, and in this day and age, words spread like wildfires. Is it awkward for a brand like Cartier to be on MySpace? Perhaps, but its inexpensive advertising, the wave of the future (which is now, for smart brands). Its easy to understand why user-friendly brands like Apple, Nike, Crocs, Dell, etc… are promoting on socnets, versus a high-end brand but – in the end – the person making the buying decision ultimately is likely not the one who was exposed to the advertising but the one who is influenced by that individual. Why not exploit the added-value avenue?

  • We do find it somewhat strange that they chose Myspace of all social networks to do their interacting on… we agree that it is definitely more of a teeny bopper audience and certainly not the average place for a luxury brand to place themselves on.

  • Why choose Myspace as a platform? Are they trying to get the bling generation to identify and adopt their brand, or was this a plan hatched by some agency exec?

  • Quite what Cartier wants to do on MySpace is to be seen. As long as they use it to communicate and not to sell, in other words compete with their retailers/franchisees, it should work. The crowd at MySpace has spare money to splurge on!

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Custom T-shirts

  • I’m not sure Cartier is going to really benefit from this unless they set up a viral campaign centered around their page. Myspace doesn’t seem like the best place for a luxury brand, but obviously they can penetrate a large audience and brand themselves if they promote it right… I’m just not sure they are going to find their best clientele on Myspace or Facebook.

  • MySpace is one of the biggest websites in the world. Check Comscore or Nielsen and deal with the facts. It is not a “teenybopper” or “misfit” site. It has over 120 million people on it, most of them over the age of 18–again CHECK THE STATS. People see a blinged out profile and assume its all teenagers. People see a staid Facebook profile and assume its all professionals. Neither is true.

  • Joe,

    The only stat that any marketer cares about is how many of those 120 million actually have the ability to buy or influence the purchase of high dollar items like Cartier watches etc. Big numbers mean nothing if they can’t be directly tied to selling product and unless the stats show a demographic that has a lot of disposable income it’s just a number.

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  • I think it’s great for branding. Not sure if there’s the best ROI on time investment.

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