Is making minor idols ‘luxury brand ambassadors’ a good thing? Experts analyze the pros and cons of this trend
Luxury brands are selecting GenZ idols as ambassadors to encourage purchases from teenagers. Is this a good thing?
We can easily find unboxing videos of luxury products on Youtube uploaded by teenagers. In addition to teenage YouTubers, young customers are now going to major department stores such as Lotte and Shinsegae. According to analysts, idols’ activities as luxury brand ambassadors have encouraged teenagers to consume luxury goods. Not only global groups BTS and BLACKPINK, but rookies like NewJeans and IVE with minor members are being ambassadors of luxury brands. It is very easy to meet elementary and middle school students in Korea visiting department stores with their parents and asking for ‘NewJeans Minji’s bags’ from Chanel or ‘jacket worn by IVE Jang Won Young’ from Miu Miu.
Attention is paid to the moves of Gen Z people, who have emerged as new consumers of luxury brands. According to a report by global management consulting firm Bain & Company, most Gen Z people (born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s) purchase their first luxury goods at the age of 15. It is predicted that the next generation will soon join the trend, and together they will account for 80% of the world’s luxury goods consumption by 2030 and become the major consumer of the luxury market. As interest and purchases increase, the number of teenage YouTubers and influencers making content about luxury items is also increasing.
Regarding such a trend, experts analyze that global luxury brands are lowering the age of their ambassadors to encourage teenagers to buy luxury products. Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc., are competitively selecting young K-pop idols as their ambassadors.
NewJeans, a rookie girl group consisting of all minor members that debuted last year, recently made headlines with their unusual moves in the fashion world. Starting with Hanni being selected as Gucci and Giorgio Armani ambassador in November last year, Danielle is also modeling for Burberry and Saint Laurent Beauty. Minji is a model for Chanel Beauty, Fashion, Watch & Jewelry, while Haerin is the first pop artist to be a new face representing three categories of Dior, including Jewelry, Fashion and Beauty. Maknae Hyein also became Louis Vuitton’s youngest ambassador at the age of 14.
IVE Jang Won Young, who is so famous among elementary school students enough to be called “Elementary Student President”, was chosen as the global ambassador for Miu Miu and FRED, while Ahn Yu Jin became Fendi’s ambassador. Both of them have just turned 20.
However, many people are raising concerns about the trend of teenagers with no economic capabilities purchasing luxury products. In online communities, a netizen commented, “Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior items are expensive even for adult office workers. It is ironic that these brands are selecting minors as their models to stimulate teenagers’ purchasing desire through them.”
Inha University’s Consumer Professor Lee Eun Hee said, “Consumption should be within the limit of one’s income and spending capacity”, adding “Elementary school students do not make money, but if they keep spending too much on such products from their young age, they may not be able to control themselves after growing up.”
The Professor emphasized, “Although teenagers’ consumption of luxury goods is frequently highlighted by the media, it is necessary to train them to know how to control their purchases”, adding “In addition, if a teenager develops a desire to show off from an early age and continue to consume beyond their economic level, problems related to consumption habits can definitely arise later on.”