If there is one message I try to convey through BrandWatch, it is definitely the importance of consistency and attention to detail for a brand.
During a recent trip to China, an Italian friend – a recognized specialist in luxury products and head of a brand himself – stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai. The beautiful bathroom was filled with accessories from Hermès. So imagine his surprise when he saw another brand next to them: two products from Salvatore Ferragamo.
In fact, for several years now, the Italian brand has been creating a range of perfumes and cosmetics under the name "Tuscan Soul " - a tribute to the Tuscan origins of the brand. It completed the range last month with the launch of four new fragrances ('the Quintessential Collection') with names evocative of the region such as Violets and Carrara marble. "I wanted to speak of the excellence of Tuscany and Florence through its symbols, representative of art, architecture, purity and beauty", said Massimiliano Giornetti, the Creative Director of the brand. At an evening, while the soft strains of arias from Puccini's Turandot played in the background... Michele Norsa, CEO of Ferragamo, upheld the idea that perfumes are a wonderful vector for penetrating the Chinese market: "Perfumes are increasingly appealing to consumers in China, which is a market that has a bigger growth potential than other countries". That was the vision.
Reality, however, lay in the bathroom of a luxury hotel in Shanghai: a Ferragamo shower cap, and sanitary bags for women.
As my friend wryly said to me: "surely a little marvel in plastic made by Tuscan craftsmen... ".
It's no secret that some luxury brands have decided to create a range of complimentary products in order to be present in luxury hotels patronized by their customers. Hermès and Bulgari (which has its own hotels) being the most prominent among them. Their offers, in addition to body and hair care products, often include other accessories as you can see in the Hermès list below.
Among them there is of course the ubiquitous shower cap, and "cotton tips" ... but none of us has yet seen a plastic sanitary bag!
How far should a brand go to promote its products in hotel bathrooms? Will offering a shower cap and a "sanitary bag" help to sell Salvatore Ferragamo perfumes and cosmetics? It's highly doubtful, especially when the hotel – which the brand does not control - places the two brands side-by-side. A study in contrast - one noble (Hermès), and the other plebeian (Ferragamo). In other words, the Ferragamo products contribute nothing to the image of the brand. Some brands should really clean up their act!