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Smells Like Teen Spirit

Given the amount of time that well-heeled teens -- and even tweens -- spend online and at the mall, it's no shock that they've discovered luxury brands.  Nor is it particularly surprising that luxury brands have taken notice of the after-school set, offering pricey mini-indulgences like logoed barrettes. 

It is a bit strange, however, that some of their ostensibly brand-friendly elders sound suddenly moralistic when asked by WWD about the trend.

Portnoy's Complaint

Consider a comment by J. Elias Portnoy, chief brand strategist of the Portnoy Group:

It's like cigarette smoking.  [Luxury brands] are getting them hooked at a young age and have them as customers for a lifetime.

Nice analogy, especially from an organization that boasts, "We teach companies how to bond emotionally with their current and prospective customers and employees by creating the strategic platforms for great, compelling, and effective communications."

Nils' Nihilism

And how about this statement from Nils Montan, president of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition:

Marijuana is called a gateway drug; that is what counterfeiting can be looked at as.

Montan goes on:

Kids, especially, are under the radar, but my gut reaction is that counterfeits are an entry point for teens to luxury brands.

Well, that must be a relief to Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany, etc., anyway.  Now they can forget all of that high-priced trademark enforcement and even eliminate their marketing departments, secure in the knowledge that counterfeiters are luring children to try their addictive wares -- after which they'll move on to the harder (i.e. genuine, more expensive) stuff. 

One wonders whether Montan, formerly VP and senior IP counsel for Warner Bros., also believes that poor quality, fake DVDs are a "gateway" to giant HDTVs and home theatres. 

With friends like these, luxury brands need no enemies.