Being dominated by millennial philosophies of ‘Treat your self’ & ‘Fear of Missing Out’ it is understandable that an entire generation is obsessed with fitting in while standing out. Enter Premium Mediocre, an idea created to make you feel exclusive but a plan devised to be more inclusive.
In 2017, Venkatesh Rao coined the term Premium Mediocre stating that brands are creating an illusion of luxury so that the masses get lured to buy products and services only with the mind concept of consuming luxury; when actually, it is an average product/service with the brand logo on it.
Since the pattern of consumption where pretending to afford luxury is the trend, millennial's think it is justifiable. These consumers are not tasteless, they are actually very much aware of the product not being luxury enough. But they pretend it to be tasteful and enjoy in pretending. In an age of curated lives thanks to social media, the brand/logo is king and anyone who can show it off on their feed maybe an influencer. The fashion elitism is slowly dying a profitable death.
India is the fastest growing economy in the world. Where GDP is increasing with the blink of an eye, international and national brands have left no stone unturned to invest in the country which is the biggest consumer market in the world where maximum consumers are between the ages of 18 to 40. This only means that India is also the biggest consumer market of premium mediocre.
Premium Mediocre is Premium Economy Seats, Gucci baseball hat ($350), Hotel Le Meridien Elite Club Membership (Double room with overrated hotel services), Starbucks Coffee(aka Capitalist Cofee) are only coating mediocrity with an illusion of luxury for people who cannot afford the real deal but still want don’t want to feel left out. While brands like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Ted Baker and Kate Spade known for affordable luxury have been a popular favourites under this category as well.
To include everyone in the market by creating an artificial aura of exclusivity is the main motto. We are not living in big size bungalows and driving luxury cars yet, but we can make it to the point where once in a blue moon we can enjoy its services without limiting our pocket.
When consumers are falling for it, why should brands stop creating illusive luxury?