At work.

Chunky accessories are the simplest ways to make a big statement–bringing an instant polish look to every outfit.

Happy Spring Colours

Yellow is definitely the colour for this spring. Found this gorgeous dress from Rebecca Taylor which I paired with my new obsession–the Kiboots!

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New Beginning

1. The Standard Downtown 2. Ozumo Santa Monica 3. Umami Burger 4. LA 5. DVF

It is interesting how things are never really the way you imagined, dreamed, or planned. Sometimes it is better, sometimes it is worse–but that is what makes life exciting.  I came to LA for a dream. Although that dream did not come true, I still feel so grateful and blessed because I learned and experienced so much more than anticipated.

Sparkles

1. Beautiful Christmas decoration at The Grove 2. Herve Leger Dress 3&4. Zara Jacket

Finally had time to go see the beautiful Christmas decoration at The Grove before leaving for Taiwan for winter break. It is absolutely amazing shopping there because the joyful Christmas music and lights made me feel like I was in adult Disneyland…a very different feeling that you cannot get in New York.

Away From Banality

Shamelessness is a feature of contemporary life; it visibly afflicts the celebrity and the wannabe celebrity, but it also informs and liberates the artist.

The Angel Effect

Glamour, glitter, girls—you got them all if you were watching the tenth-annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on CBS with the other 10.3 million viewers this Tuesday night.  This lavish event, with outrageously fabulous lingerie worn by some of the most beautiful women on this planet, is the most important and successful marketing campaign for Victoria’s Secret. The iconic angel wings are almost as magical as the power of a crown because they symbolize sexiness, perfection, and irresistibility. After watching the fashion show, who doesn’t want to be an angel?

Victoria’s Secret has incorporated many psychological principles in its brilliant marketing strategies and they have brought extremely positive outcomes to the company. According to the Balance Theory, people prefer balance and cognitive consistency. Therefore, when a consumer associates a product with a figure she likes, she will have positive attitude toward that product as well. This is why celebrity endorsement has been a major marketing strategy adopted by many companies. Victoria’s Secret is capitalizing on the likeability nature of their angels to reach consumers who want to be identified as similar to these gorgeous models.  Therefore, for consumers who want to be just like those angels, they will likely purchase the lingerie that the angels have worn.

There is an interesting study mentioned in Science Daily on whether simply carrying a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag will make people feel more glamorous. According to the article, certain brands have personalities that can actually change the way some people feel about themselves—”Using brands with appealing personalities can rub off on the way consumers see themselves, even if the brand is used for only a short time.”  In the experiment, two groups of women were being asked to hold a Victoria’s Secret or plain pink shopping bag for an hour in the shopping mall. Afterwards, they had to rate themselves on a list of personality traits, including traits associated with the Victoria’s Secret brand. Shoppers who carried the Victoria’s Secret bag perceived themselves as more feminine, glamorous, and good-looking than shoppers who carried the plain shopping bag.

This is relevant to the theory of self-efficacy. The researchers discovered the participants had different beliefs about their personalities. “Consumers most affected by their experience with Victoria’s Secret held certain beliefs about their personalities,” the authors write. “They believe their personal qualities are fixed and cannot be improved by their own efforts at self-improvement. Therefore, they look for ways to signal their positive qualities through other means, such as brands.” People who were not affected by carrying the Victoria’s Secret bag believed that their personal qualities were more flexible and could change for the better by their efforts to improve themselves.

Hate the UnHate?

Shocking. This is my first reaction after seeing this ad from Italian brand United Colors of Benetton. Before I even have time to evaluate whether this campaign has generated positive or negative shock, these images have been pulled by Benetton on Wednesday night.  However, with the power of social media, the spreading of these images is unstoppable and it has generated heated debate on drawing the line between creativity and inappropriateness. Benetton has upset everyone from the Vatican to the White House with its montage of close-up kisses between world leaders — President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Hu Jintao or Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The images are meant to promote its newly formed Unhate Foundation in a new ad campaign of the same name.

Marketing whiz Elio Fiorucci, whose revolutionary images in the Seventies and Eighties contributed to shape the way Italian fashion houses communicated, expressed his thoughts on this campaign.

“It’s a somewhat shocking campaign, and we are used to Benetton providing such imagery — the reaction was to be expected. It’s always correct to provoke a little, but I don’t know if pictures are that well made. I remember Toscani’s photos for Benetton of [a black] woman nursing a white child, for example. It looked like a painting,” said Fiorucci. However, he also conceded that “times were different” when Toscani worked with the Italian firm back in the Eighties and Nineties. “It made more sense then.”

According to the BBC, Benetton responded to the criticism, noting, “We are sorry that the use of an image of the pontiff and the imam should have offended the sensibilities of the faithful in this way.” Benetton said the purpose of the ad campaign “was solely to battle the culture of hate in all its forms.”

What are your thoughts on the Benetton ads?

Resisting the Scarce Cookies

It is holiday season but for retailers, it is also the beginning of hectic advertising battle nightmares.  Every year around this time, retailers ranging from pet stores to department stores bombard me with emails containing information of irresistible deals to lure me into spending like a shopaholic. I remember those insane moments when my friends and I braved the bitter cold wind at three in the morning just to line up for the Black Friday sale at the outlets.  The movies actually portrayed women fighting over shoes without exaggeration because personally, I have witnessed shoppers trying to sabotage each other over a pair of shoes.  

Being in the MHB Program and discussing different companies’ marketing strategies all semester has inspired me to try to completely exclude myself from all kinds of shopping activities this Black Friday weekend—and I have succeeded! While I was sipping coffee calmly in my apartment on Black Friday morning, I realized that I barely wear or use most of the items purchased from impulsive buying behavior.   So the important question is, why do we buy things knowing that we actually don’t need them?  How do we resist this temptation?

 One of the main influences of persuasion that retailers use is the principle of scarcity.  Limited time, limited edition, and limited quantities are all strategies that capitalize on scarcity to influence consumers into making quick purchase decisions. In an article that I read recently, it says that stores purposely advertise certain limited edition items to attract shoppers into the store only to find that they have already sold out.  Apparently, this will increase the shoppers’ level of competitiveness and buy other items quickly because they are afraid that those items will be gone as well.

 Knowing this fact, there are several tips to avoid impulsive buying behavior. As mentioned in Cialdini’s The Psychology of Persuasion, when we find ourselves beset by scarcity pressures in a compliance situation, our best response would occur in a two-stage sequence. As soon as we feel the tide of emotional arousal that flows from scarcity influence, we should use that rise in the arousal as a signal to stop short—“panicky, feverish reactions have no place in wise compliance decision.”  What we should do is try to calm ourselves and regain a rational perspective.  The process of calming down requires strong self-control and sometimes it might not be achievable. Therefore, you can ask your honest and trusted friend to go shop with you and she can help stop you from going crazy when necessary.  Always ask yourself whether you are buying the item only because it is on sale. Would you buy it if it is not?  Note to self—“we need to recall that the scarce cookies didn’t taste any better.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Don’t think I would be able to swallow my food if I were a guest sitting at this table…Enjoy all the friends, family, food, and happiness around you and of course, get ready for the hectic Black Friday shopping experience. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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