Can you pay to be popular? Marketeers as Christian Dior seem to think so. In the space of a week, there's been more overnight scripted raving about the Dior Saddle and its apparent comeback than there have been Trump memes.
In a thinly veiled campaign, every influencer under the sun all of a sudden has the Dior Saddle Bag, and all have similar soulless captions about it, claiming to be "obsessed" with the new Dior Saddle, thanking Grazia Chiuri about bringing it back, and often curiously including the hashtag #mariagraziachiuri.
The first to point out this abrupt ambush, and the strange lack of disclosure about the bags being gifts from Dior, came from the story of the account of @DietPrada.
But it's not just Instagram. The Cut is also being used as conduit to spread the word, with the headline: "After 18 Years, the Iconic Dior Saddle Bag Is Back". Scroll all the way down and see: If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.
Artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri even released a quote with a fashion psychology undercurrent to go with the piece: “I consider this icon of the house’s recent history the perfect accessory to deal with this battle that is daily life.”
While placing products with brand ambassadors is nothing new and a widely accepted practice, this seems to a heavy handed and perhaps overly transparent campaign that does more harm than good for the brand. It-bags happen organically, and while they may make some sales from this forced campaign in the interim from the sheep group of consumers, they may just accrue long-term damage.
It could be hypothesized that the bold campaign comes on the heels of hit-and-miss reviews of Chiuri's collections . The house may have expected greater returns on their investment of Grazia Chiuri after poaching her from the highly successful Valentino, and banking on the fact that "it was time for a woman at the house". Our own readership appears to be divided about her latest Fall '18 Couture Collection, despite most in the industry agreeing that it was one of the strongest.
Are It bags born or made? Only time will tell. But while influencers do drive sales, their very influence is contingent about some level of authenticity in what they stand for. People don't like to feel tricked. If Dior neglects this fact and sacrifices their most aspirational consumer for the masses, they may very well risk their positioning.