Chloe Fellwock is a senior advertising major and writes “Full Dis-Chlo-sure” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper.
I spend a lot of time thinking about hypothetical situations, and I was launched into one of them when the Instagram algorithm decided I was the perfect customer for a Tiffany & Co. ad.
This is hilarious to me. It’s not like I don’t enjoy fancy things. I have the classic little silver-beaded bracelet with that tiny heart charm. But I found it amusing because the few times I’ve been in a Tiffany & Co. store, I was a preteen who the employees always looked at the way you’d look at a group of middle schoolers at a furniture store. Neon athletic shorts, a t-shirt and no idea what a karat was.
So, back to hypotheticals. The reason I bring this all up is that if I were somehow caught up in a situation where I had to select the earthly embodiment of self-indulgent delusion, it would be Tiffany & Co.
Their advertisement displayed a real product offered by Tiffany & Co. on their website. It’s a tin can.
The can’s description would have you believe this literal hunk of metal is a timeless, ordinary object reimagined as a piece of art. It’s silver with a Tiffany blue stripe on the side.
Ready for the kicker? It retails at $1,100.
You can even make an appointment to go and discuss the purchase.
If you’re not already there with me, let me tell you exactly why this ticks me off. First of all, it’s useless. I’m not even an overly practical person, but if you mean to tell me you’re going to sell us a tin can for $1,100, then I’d love to know its purpose.
Thankfully, Tiffany has some ideas. You can buy the Tiffany pens and keep them in your brand new designer soup can. By the way, the cheapest pen I could find on their website cost $200.
Other products include a $2,000 dog bowl, straws and bubble blowers that retail at $250 each and baby combs — also $250 — which really boggles my mind. I’m not sure if Tiffany’s marketing team has ever seen a baby, but those things are bald. It’s the product equivalent of those medieval paintings of cats where the artist had clearly never seen a cat before, they’d only heard rumors then gave them the face of the nearest old man. No attempt at research was made.
All of this shows just how absolutely in their own heads Tiffany and Co. are. They honestly believe that someone is going to buy this half of a DIY shoestring phone and keep things in it. I know people who have living rooms you’re not really supposed to use because the pillows are too nice, and I would assume they run in similar circles as Tiffany’s tin can consumers.
Can you imagine someone letting their kid keep Mr. Sketch markers and chewed-up pencils in something that costs more than their tuition? Absolutely not.
Aside from it being useless, the price of this stupid Great Depression cup indicates Tiffany’s disregard for their consumers.
Look, I’m an advertising major. I understand brand value and, obviously, part of the value of Tiffany’s is the experience of getting something from such an iconic brand. And I could maybe excuse that line of thinking if you were buying jewelry. But again — it’s an $1,100 can. Tin can aside, it’s not like Tiffany’s is particularly good quality.
I know someone who had a Tiffany’s ring when she was younger, and it was truly beautiful. But I can’t tell you how many times she had to have that thing fixed. And she’s not alone — just ask some consumers, many of whom describe lackluster customer service while dealing with things like chains breaking within the first month of ownership. At that point, it was hardly even worth it.
That’s what I mean when I say Tiffany’s is a microcosm of delusion. Audrey Hepburn ate a donut in front of your store in one movie, and you think you can upcharge people for stuff that doesn’t even make sense?
Screw you. Tiffany’s is the jeweler equivalent of Andrew Lloyd Webber. They did one cool thing — their “Phantom of the Opera” — and now they think we’re gonna be on board with their ridiculous nonsense because of the label.
Other designer brands are just as guilty of this, but what’s especially irritating about Tiffany’s case is that they reveal a sense of awareness. Tiffany’s knows it’s ridiculous to ask hundreds of dollars for something that has less than a year to live — if the product has a reasonable purpose at all. They do it because they know their decades of marketing has been as effective as cocaine. They know fully well people will bend over backward to get something in a little blue box.
Worse, still, is that Tiffany’s had to believe there was a market for the product. Maybe their research confirmed it, and I sincerely hope they’re mistaken.
If you have $1,100 in disposable income and choose to spend it on glorified refurbished trash, I need you to go to the nearest mountain and think long and hard about who you’ve become. People who would do that are the same kinds of people who use “summer” as a verb. That money could be used to help someone in your life or assist any number of wonderful causes and you chose a tin can? Please.
That’s enough money for more than 15 weeks of groceries if you spend an average of $70 weekly. It’s more than enough to spend a night in the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World. You could even buy nine “I just killed my rich husband” robes. And imagine all the good you can do in the world with this money, which could feed a family or further a social justice cause. Please, don’t buy the can. To say it’s a stupid waste of money is an understatement.
However, I won’t act like I’m immune to loving the thrill of treating yourself to something that feels exclusive. So, if you really want this, don’t give Tiffany & Co. any money. Simply wash out an empty can really well and paint it silver. Next, find a robin-egg blue resembling a Tiffany blue and paint a little stripe on the side. For those wondering, if you want to create a similar color yourself on a computer, try the hex code “#0abab5.”
If we keep feeding Tiffany’s weird estate sale, their attempts to abuse its brand equity are going to keep working like a charm.
Contact Chloe Fellwock with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @helloitchlo.