Our Mothers, Ourselves

trashing women over 40 long.png

Have you all seen all the hullabaloo about the new "Not Your Mother's Tiffany" campaign? Wowza is there ever a lot of passion around that! The good news is that Tiffany certainly learned it had a lot of fans. Women (and men!) who appreciated the iconic status of the brand, who understood the heirloom quality, who enjoyed the timeless style, and looked forward to inheriting and passing down pieces of their own. The bad news, of course, is that all of these people are now royally pissed off.

Whether we are mothers or not, we are part of the “other” that Tiffany has kicked to the curb in four little words. If we cherish the jewelry of our mothers and grandmothers, we’re not invited to be a part of this new direction. 

As I explained to Morning Brew, "the issue of tossing one generation away in favor of another is not cool, especially when that other generation has been loyal customers for decades.” And honestly, they might have been even more valuable customers going forward. 

After all, 1 in 4 Americans is a woman over 40. 83 million women are a lot of people to turn your back on. Especially when they out-spend millennials. By a lot. Generation X and Baby Boomers outspend Millennials by 41% and 20% respectively. Looking just at women over 50, they have $15 trillion in spending power, and that money can be allocated much differently at this stage of their lives than when they were younger, just starting out in their own careers, paying off student debt while saving for their own kids’ education.

In a way, it’s like Tiffany sort of understood this. Like maybe they weren’t 100% behind kicking mothers to the curb. I say this because a particularly confounding thing for me as I look at the campaign is how mixed up the messaging is. On the page that is headlined with "Not your mother's Tiffany" are classic Tiffany designs that the target's mothers and, frankly, grandmothers, have been wearing for almost 50 years (looking at you Elsa Peretti Bone Cuffs) as well as a section header saying "'Maybe It Was Cool Back in the Day...' Maybe mother knows best." Wait, does she? Hold on, are you saying it was cool then, but maybe it's not now? I'm confused.

And the fact that Tiffany still wants us to buy our mothers gifts there? Given the way many moms feel treated by the brand lately, at this point, is that what she even wants to receive? 

It’s so disappointing that a brand that has been aspirational for nearly two hundred years feels that the way to continue cultivating interest and desire is by not just abandoning, but disparaging generations of fans. 

But perhaps the most head-scratching thing of all in the face of this campaign is that Tiffany pieces are heirlooms. Whether they are sterling tableware, exquisite diamonds, timeless, signature jewelry designs (which by the way were all new and modern at one point), they are made to be transferred from one generation to the next. This campaign makes it seem like "your mother's" Tiffany should be melted, sold, or otherwise discarded. This perspective is not doing the brand any favors; it denigrates not just the customers, but the product itself.

There are a million ways to modernize a brand and make it appealing to a new generation without insulting and alienating the previous one (along with the heritage of the brand). Want to know more about how we do that at Fancy? Give Lindsey Seyman a call at: 607.592.3799.


Help Needed Now: St. Boniface Hospital in Haiti


NEW WORK ALERT: Lion’s Den “Summer of Love”