Does anyone really need a R385 000 TV?

Ad for very expensive TVLast night I saw this ad.  You can get an Ultra HD TV for a mere R350k.

I suspect I’m not the only one who finds this appalling.    It’s all very well defining your target market really tightly, and not aiming to be all things to all people.  It’s marketing wisdom that niche marketing offers you the opportunity to really understand your market and give them exactly what appeals to them.

But you also need to have a market worth targeting, and I’d suggest that a TV with this price tag is looking at a niche without a market.

Of course, this ad has nothing to do with selling over-spec’d, over-sized and over-priced TVs.  Instead, it is all about brand positioning.

The TV isn’t even available, yet it’s being advertised.  Clearly Samsung aren’t expecting customers to go racing in to the retailer to buy them.  Instead, they are using this product to position themselves as the brand that offers the very best in high technology.

You might not be willing to part with what, for most South Africans, would be more than an annual salary, but the price tag of the ultra HD TV might persuade you that their technology is more advanced than their competitors.

Of course, they don’t want to exclude the large market of people who are actually looking to buy a TV right now, or those who would prefer to buy their first flat, pay for a university education or invest in something that would offer a return.  And for this reason, the ad features two alternatives at two different (and decidedly more accessible) price points.

The ad is a co-operative campaign for two brands; the retailer and the manufacturer, and the positioning exercise applies to the retailer too.  They are using this as an opportunity to showcase their range, and tell their customers that they are not a run-of-the-mill, cost-cutter, but a highly specialised chain that caters to the discriminating customer, while also offering good value on high demand TVs and white goods.

But the question is, are they achieving what they set out to do?

I don’t suffer from techno-lust, so this would not important to me even at a tenth of the price.  But I’ll concede that it’s possible that international markets might offer an opportunity for the manufacturer’s brand; that the super-rich in countries with strong currencies might justify this investment in product development.

However, I’d argue that instead of positioning the retailer as expert, it suggests that they are out of touch with the realities of the SA consumer.  Worse still, I think it might be divisive in a society where more of the population survive on welfare than pay income tax.

How do you feel about this ad?  Do you long for a TV of this quality, or do you agree with me?


  1. Pat Pughe-Parry on May 23, 2013 at 10:23

    Sadly I think in South African society even though the level of “haves” is a narrow band, there are those consumers who define themselves by the material possessions they own.

    Just look at the cars on our roads. The petrol price is killing yet the enormous 4×4 gas guzzlers are everywhere.

    • Ann Druce on June 4, 2013 at 17:03

      I just found this today: 65% of women own a car, and they spend 24% of their budget on car repayments. But only 37% have a pension or provident fund and 70% have no short term insurance. Presumably that means they have no insurance on their cars either. ( No question that conspicuous consumption is in vogue, even at the expense of future security.

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