What is Globalisation? Well in my International Media and Communication course it refers to an international community influences by technological development and economic, political, and military interests; characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information. This breaks down of geographical barriers between nations creates a global configuration of technology or what Standler and O’Shaughnessy refered to as a ‘Technoscape’.
An embodiment of Marshall McLuhan’s ‘Global village’ ; where people are brought closer together by the globalisation of communication, a place where members as Todd Giltin states “speak American, drinks Coke, eats at the golden arches, [..] recognizes Mickey Mouse, James Dean, ET, Bart Simpson, R2-D2 and Pamela Anderson”.This commercialized future got me thinking about the idea of ‘status brands’ and how brands could become the tool for identifying nations in this ‘village’, but currently it is used to categorise between class. Humans are very insecure creatures, jealous of other people’s success, craving attention and admiration from fellow members of our species much like the Indian Peacock as it parades it magnificent feathers, desperate to get noticed.
Matt Haig states that if people buy BMW, wear Louis Vuitton or Rolex “they are clearly trying to distinguish themselves from the Ford-driving, Gap-clad, Timex-wearing masses.” Just how do these companies create the luxury image which in consumers’ minds puts their product above the rest, well below I examined Rolex and Louis Vuitton’s branding strategies and the most important aspects of their status branding success, an example of Financescape (global flow of capital including currency, stock and commodities).
Some might argue that these brands have higher quality components and that purchasing the product is justified as achieving the ‘best bang for your buck’ but theorist Matt Haig goes on to explain that it is something more abstract, as a “BMW gets you to the same place as a Volkswagen” going further on to state that “high-fashion brands are archetypal status providers because they are almost never bought for their practical use.” This idea reminded me of a televised social experiment that used well-off ‘princesses’ and showed them that there is more to life than their ‘Paris Hilton equivalent lifestyles’, in this episode however the characteristics of what makes a product ‘high culture’ is examined.
This divide between the rich and poor has increased despite the world economic output doubling in the past 10 years and statistics show that the richest 50 people in the world have a combined income greater than the total earnings of the poorest 416 million. These billion dollar industries are here to stay as high society defining their prominence over the middle or lower class through ‘status brands’ is a key factor in class identity but it does however pose a question: Is ending global hunger really impossible or just a sacrifice of a pair of Louis Vuitton’s away? As one pair can feed a village in Africa for 3 months.
Haig, M 2007, ‘Status Brands’ in Brand Success: How the World’s Top 100 Brands Thrive and Survive, Kogan Page Limited Paperback, United States, pp. 110- 130
O’ Shaughnessy , M & Stadler , J 2008, ‘Globalisation’, Media and Society, pp. 458 – 471