Back in the days from not so long ago, (say, anytime in domestic society from the 1950’s well into the turn of the 21st century), anyone who wanted to prove to the world they lived in that they officially “made it” in terms of success of some sort usually as reaching a financial goal, these folks would possess something called a “status symbol”.
This object or series of objects would be something or another that was shiny, attractive, and rather pricy for what it was. It would be something also known as a luxury item, meaning that the item in question was nice to have and use, but not necessarily something that was needed to function through their domestic life. It was more of a lifestyle element than something that was necessary to get through the day or for a much longer term.
If one went to their favorite search engine and typed in “status symbol”, one would receive dozens of definitions and examples of what it means to flaunt one’s place in their neighborhood. One example as found on Reference.com states that a status symbol …tend(s) to be impractical or superfluous items, often bought for the sole purpose of belonging, or at least feeling a sense of belonging, to a higher social stratum.
Many brands out there exist for the sole purpose of showing off that a person or persons live in some kind of upper tier. For example, if one wanted to own a car that showed off their higher marks in what they do and how they live, that car was a Cadillac, or perhaps a Lincoln. (If one wanted to got back to those days of yesteryear-say, the 1960’s, one could own an Imperial, Chrysler Corporation’s entry to the luxury automobile market.) When the “Yuppy” movement was trending in the 1980’s, the chose of autos moved from owning a Caddy to a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW. And for those that don’t know (or don’t remember) what a “Yuppy” is/was, that’s an acronym for “Young Urban Professional”, a person that was usually a second tier “Baby Boomer” (born between 1956 through 1964) that came to age in the 80’s when they were in their 20’s and 30’s working in a well paid occupation. This era showed off many of the so-called status symbols that thrived for many years, such as Gucci, Rolex, Prada, the for noted Mercedes and BMW, among many others.
As those yuppies grew older in the 90’s, they started to seek homes that were bigger than what was available in many urban areas. Many of the newer homes that were being built (or rebuilt) were larger than ever (2000 square feet and up) that gave more rooms and reshaped them into size and function. These form of homes were dubbed as “McMansions”–a type of homestead that was developed and built, generally on a larger scale that was suitable for a family of five and up, but usually occupied by a family consisting as little as two people. Those two persons consisted of a domestic couple. Normally, but not necessarily, as a man and woman. (“Husband and Wife”).
But getting back to the status symbol element that’s brand centric. Things went for what they were as changes were seen through domestic society, now shifting through electronic based technology. As the internet and devices wireless came to view, many of those aspects entered the market as those of status and luxury. Using a selected type of cell phone or a computer device was part of that new movement that showed who one was important, or at least somebody that used technology as something as a professional necessity.
When the so-called Great Recession hit in the late 00’s, the object or objects that were linked to being something of status became out of vogue for the moment. Those oversized SUV’s that became a trend in the 1990’s were no longer cutting it anymore! Carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag lost its luster. And living in an oversized home wasn’t the same as it used to be. And that period of financial ruin changed the spirt and attitude for those that experienced it for the first time, or at lease for the first time in a while.
In the advertising and marking world, it’s been always the chose to target the younger crowd for goods and services. That group of youth has been labeled as “Millenniums”, those born after 1980 who came to age when technology became a way of life, rather than something of a novelty that reshaped much of how lifestyles current function. And the demographic that follows the Millenniums in terms of age and status are the “Gen Z”s, those born after the middle 90’s that are of age but not necessarily of legal adult status.
Recently, MediaPost performed a survey of those post-1980 folks about what a status symbol and the brands associated with them are all about to them. Since many of these people came to age in those great recession times, generally from 2008 through 2012, (give or take a few years), the meaning of “less-is-more” became part of the norm, with their attitudes of showing off shifted into new gears.
In MediaPost’s findings, some 81% of those polled aged 13 through 34 agree with the phrase “Showing off expensive things you have bought on social media is not cool.” However, 46% did state that they will feel successful in life when they are able to afford luxury brands and products. It may not be right now, but when the moment arrives, they will have those goods that are targeted for an upper tier.
And what are those brands that are their status symbol? According to the poll asking some 1000 people from 13 and up, they listed their top ten brands of status that they would like to own, if they don’t own it already. Those brands listed were: (in rank of order), Apple, BMW, Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Michael Kros, Louis Vuitton, Lexus, Gucci, and Rolex.
Of course, as elements make their mark in terms of financial and technology progression, what shows if you’ve got it will go with its flow. And with that, having the best of its kind may be OK for what it is, assuming that anyone else is concerned over the matter. Using a great handbag may be fine and dandy, or flashing off a fancy watch may make its mark. But the question remains. Will having those goods prove a point? It all depends just what that point is. It’s a tough jab, and somebody’s going to have to do it!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Making its Los Angeles premier at North Hollywood’s Gray Studios is LOVE ALLWAYS, a comic anthology of short plays that deal in love, romance, and all points in between, written by the multitalented husband and wife team of Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna.
In this program, a series of short plays are performed skit style and presented in some form of slight linear fashion. The first act has much of the action taking place in a bar/restaurant/club. The second part of the bill occurs at an exotic resort along a beachfront, moving on to a resort nestled within the Poconos mountains, then shifting on to various locations set somewhere else in this world. In spite of this moving to and fro, the topic always speaks for love and its many complications while served up in a humorous fashion. The topics range from a husband and wife getting hit upon at a party separately, two married couples at a beach resort that involves a “bromance” between the pair of husbands, a guy’s conversation with a woman on movies, the so-called intimate moments that goes on within the cabins of the Poconos resorts, and plenty more!
The plays themselves are very witty, downright comical, and even holds a touch of bizarreness that’s set in. That oddball method of humor really serves as part of the comedy, making this anthology of skits funnier than sitcom fodder!
As to the actual production, Gloria Gifford of Jamaica Moon Productions, directs these series of skits in a robust fashion. Also servicing as Executive Producer, she has for her players a rotating ensemble of talent that pull out the comedy punches while acting out the “foibles and follies” of that named human emotion that folks love to love, love to hate, hate to love, and a combination of all three!
That ensemble cast of performers is huge, Some forty(!) actors and actresses are cast in this show, but not at each presentation. (Check programs for specific cast list!) Although space doesn’t allow this writer to list each appearing performer by name, this same writer can state that every actor that holds a part fits very well into this program.
It’s a real treat to see a comedy show as LOVE ALLWAYS that holds genuine laughs! From the first opening skit to its final showcase, each installment running no longer that ten minutes (some are even shorter that ten), it’s ideal for those that prefer their comedy served up in tasty morsels. And granted, one will receive these tidbits that tastes good! They may not be in good taste per se, but just as long as one laughs (and one will), then that’s all good!
LOVE ALLWAYS, presented by Jamaica Moon Productions and the GGC Players, performs at the Gray Studios, 5250 Vinland Avenue (North of Magnolia Blvd.), North Hollywood, until April 23rd. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM. For ticket reservations, call (310) 366-5505, or via online at
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