I don’t have a problem with brands releasing limited edition collections and products. I could do without the pressure to purchase with haste, but I like trend-led launches and fun packaging. It’s a trade-off I can cope with; they get a boost in sales, I get my Malibu Stacy with a special hat. We all win.
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The problem? Limited edition doesn’t really mean limited edition anymore. It’s a tactic that I’ve seen recently, trotted out by budget brands in the US.
Morphe Cosmetic is notorious for urging fans to buy before stock runs out, then, after there’s a rush on their latest collection of chalky brown shadows, the brand ~magically~ comes up with more palettes.
Even the big names are at it. Almost all of my friends fell over themselves to buy Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick when it had a limited launch. Not only did the brand say it wasn’t a permanent addition to the range, they said it would only be available on the Charlotte Tilbury website.
A few weeks later, it’s been added to the permanent line and rolled out across different retailers, internationally. I can’t even say I’m surprised.
So what’s the problem? While there are marketing strategies that are far more damaging, there are a few points specific to this method of selling that stick in my craw.
Most obviously, it violates trust. Smoke and mirrors is one thing, but nothing sours my opinion of a brand more than them trying to pull the wool over my eyes.
It’s particularly offensive when brands deploy bloggers to lie on their behalf. We’ve all seen the big American names screaming into phones about how close their collaboration is to selling out forever, then they swiftly announce a second run of product.
That second run turns into a third, and then the product is a boring old part of the main collection. If there’s ever reference to the product having been limited edition, it’s to say that consumer demand got in the way, so they had to keep the product around. Which, nope, that’s not what happened – the immediacy of restocks makes it clear that the supply was never limited.It shows total disrespect for customers
It shows total disrespect for customers.
Finally, it’s been suggested that brands rush production and skimp on quality with limited edition ranges. By the time reviews pop up, warning people off products, it’s too late – all stock has been sold, all profits have been made. Becca’s Champagne eyeshadow palette
Becca’s Champagne eye shadow palette springs to mind – that rush job ended up being so thoroughly botched that they pulled it from their line.
So, what have we learned? ‘Limited edition’ is, often, just a line to berate us into buying faster, not smarter. The fear of missing out can be a powerful one, but if it’s your only motivation for parting with your cash, there’s something amiss.