How The Rich Get Richer…

…and the poor get poorer.

It’s not like they haven’t already got millions in the bank. Big mansions in different parts of the country, even in different countries. Maybe they even own a private island. Or two. Jets, yachts, personal groomers and trainers, housekeeping staff, someone to raise their children for them while they’re out making more millions.

And yet, some of these rich and famous people (not all, I must say) still feel the need to make their names even more of a household commodity, by marketing themselves as a brand even more aggressively than ever. It’s almost as if they can’t stand to be normal, but instead have to push themselves out there, parading and strutting their stuff to gain attention. They’ve gone so far past normal that normal looks alien.

Back in the good old days, it was Quality that counted, not Quantity. Nowadays, though, with advances in technology, everyone’s a writer, artist, musician, fashion designer, interior decorator, etc etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re any good or not, there’ll always be an audience for you, someone will buy that CD of yours, your book can become a bestseller on some obscure online-only list, your music can become a hit on some indie station in Timbuktu. You can delude yourself into thinking that fingernails-down-a-chalkboard caterwauling of yours is the bees’ knees and that you’re the best thing since sliced bread…because people are just too polite to tell you otherwise.

And don’t worry, if you can’t do it yourself, simply hire someone else to do it for you.

Celebrities are quick to get in on the game and cash in on this trend. They’ve been doing it for years. No names here, you’ll know who I mean. Not satisfied with being a famous footballer? What, your millions in the bank are dwindling at an alarming rate due to the upkeep of your terribly lavish lifestyle? Why then, simply start your own line of men’s underwear. The ladies will love it. You don’t even need to know a boxer from a Y-front, the experts will take care of that. Just sign your name here. Oh look, the famous celebrity wife has followed suit with her line of sexy lingerie. The men will love it. She can’t draw, but that’s no deterrent, someone else will do the designing for her, all she has to do is give her OK. Still not satisfied with the insane amount of money you’re getting just by putting your name on undies? Why not visit some parfumier in France and concoct your own bottled farts fragrances? Now Everyone will love to smell like you. Endorse, endorse, endorse, baby! Kaching$$$!!!

So, in this terrible world we live in today, the rich are busy creating new products carrying their brand name, to peddle to the poor. The poor, who fantasise about becoming rich some day, (while spending money buying stuff they want but don’t need) live under the false impression that if they dress like their favourite celebrity, wear underwear signed by them, smell like them, carry handbags or wear sunglasses “designed” by them, then hopefully all that obscene wealth will rub off on them and make them rich too.

It’s easy when you’re already a famous name. Your products don’t have to be the best, they don’t even have to be ethically sourced, the hoi polloi won’t know if your dresses are really made by slaves in sweatshops in Indonesia. Your Marketing team will handle all that, polish everything up to look super shiny and bright. And the masses will fall for it and give you their money.

And once you get started successfully on one product, the rest is easy. That’s how the rich can wear so many hats…not just because they can afford to, but because once you’ve established a successful line in consumer products, you can then claim equal success as a cook, baker, author, fashion designer, interior decorator, artist, hell the world is your oyster and you can eat it too.

For the rest of us, poor fools who have no financial backing, or famous name or breeding, no matter how hard you try, you never seem to get there. These days it’s not what you know, but who you know.

The other day, I was waiting for my son at the mall, and the huge display of perfumes on the glass front of a chemists’ caught my attention. Upon closer scrutiny, I counted more than a dozen “celebrity fragrances”. I’ve been a perfume connoisseur before (read traipsing through the streets of Paris visiting independent and commercial parfumiers, testing out and buying my favourite scents, and collecting free samples. I highly recommend Paris as a travel destination, by the way). I was obsessed with a book on perfumes and macarons then, and when my Paris trip came up, I took the opportunity to indulge in both.

So, I know that most of these “celebrity fragrances” have cheap, synthetic bases, and are made from more chemicals than natural ingredients. The scents won’t be as longlasting as fragrances made the traditional, time-tested way. They might even leave a nasty lingering smell on your skin, or stain your clothing. Sure they look attractive, in their sparkly bottles and pretty boxes, but that’s just the Marketing and Advertising company doing its job.

Never judge a book by its cover.

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