Paid by brands: Roger, Trevor, Rafael and Bill Gates
Between sporting events, concerts, beauty queen parades and parliamentary drama, I hardly know where to begin; or what to say that has not already been said.
I did see a picture last week that got me thinking about something I had addressed before, but deserves more words.
It was a picture of Trevor Noah, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Bill Gates, all in town for last week’s exhibition tennis match at Cape Town Stadium.
The picture was posted by someone on Twitter and was captioned: “$1.5 trillion in one shot and not one Gucci in sight.”
It was only then that I noticed that curious little truth. Here were four exceptionally wealthy individuals and none of them had the need to wear branded clothing to broadcast their net worth.
In all fairness, Federer and Nadal are probably relieved to be in brand-free clothing every now and again. But that’s a conversation for another day.
Over the years, I have had the good fortune of meeting some very well known and very rich people, and that is the one thing they all share in common.
Virtually none of them sport branded clothing.
Now that’s not to say that all of the world’s well-heeled, wear no-name brands.
But there definitely is a huge disparity between what they choose to wear and what ordinary kids aspire to wear or force their parents to buy for them.
The irony is that it’s often people who are living on the breadline who spend their hard-earned cash on keeping Federer and Nadal’s bank balances healthy. And they often do it on credit that they can barely afford to repay.
I understand the argument that expensive branded clothing is often a substitute for a lack of social self-confidence, but I don’t necessarily buy it.
Truly wealthy and confident individuals seldom, if ever, wear name brands. And I’ll tell why that is in just a moment. But for now just think about one truly silly, yet brilliant fact about capitalist copyright marketing.
They charge you more for a branded takkie, because it is in high demand, everybody wants it.
The reason that everybody wants it is because their favourite celebrity wears it.
But that celebrity gets paid millions to wear it while you don’t get a cent.
Instead you spend a fortune on it, so they can pay the celebrity to convince you to buy another one.
And then they still use you as a walking billboard to advertise their brand further.
It’s pure brilliance that relies squarely on how easily we are deceived as consumers.
Of course one of the most convincing arguments is how much better those branded items are than no-name brands.
And in some cases that is true, but not it all cases.
The one confusing thing is that everyone knows branded clothing items are not as superior as they claim to be. But the clever marketing convinces our kids to keep on buying it.
And as long as they fall for those traps, they will be wasting their money and never reach the same levels of wealth themselves, never mind digging themselves out of poverty.
And here’s the clincher: They are wasting their money on the very people they admire for their wealth.
For every branded T-shirt they buy, a portion goes into the bank accounts of the Federers of the world.
Their multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals are funded by our stupidity and gullibility. Meanwhile, they themselves are not stupid or gullible, which is why they don’t wear branded clothing themselves.