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Boîte de Pandore

26/01/2015 - par Mark Tungate

Dans sa chronique Brand World cette semaine, le journaliste Mark Tungate met à profit un récent séjour en Angleterre, son pays natal, pour s'intéresser à une curieuse marque mondiale d'origine danoise au branding «perfect»: les bijoux Pandora.

«Do you like my bracelet? It’s from Pandora.» I was in England visiting my best friend, and his 16-year-old daughter Mimi was showing off her jewellery. For a moment I thought her bracelet came from the planet featured in the film Avatar - but then I realised she meant the jewellery store.


When Mimi told me more about her bracelet, I became intrigued. It was a charm bracelet, which, as you know, means that you buy the basic item and then jazz it up with little trinkets - charms. It’s a classic lock-in marketing strategy, also used by the makers of razors, printers and capsule coffee machines. Interesting to note that one of the brand’s ads features the «love locks» on the Pont des Arts.


When I accompanied Mimi and her parents to a shopping mall on Saturday, she spent about an hour browsing charms, which can cost from 35 euros up to more than 300. Mimi was in the lower price bracket, but judging by her bracelet, she was already toting more than a hundred euros’ worth of metal on her wrist.


Like so many clever brands, Pandora comes from Scandinavia: in this case Denmark, where it was founded in 1982 (according to Wikipedia) by goldsmith Per Enevoldsen and his wife Winnie. Their original idea was to import (presumably cheap) jewellery from Thailand and sell it to Danish consumers.


Now they make jewellery in Thailand and sell it to everyone: 80 countries and counting, plus e-tail. The branding is perfect: Cinderalla pink and feminine, sophisticated without being snobbish and not so much luxurious as romantic. It reminds me of Repetto, which Mimi also loves. The store felt like one of those padded satin jewellery boxes that play a tinkling tune when you open them.


The only thing I can’t figure out is why the founders chose Pandora, whose seductiveness (in Greek mythology) drove the Gods to lay gifts at her feet, and who by misplaced curiosity opened a jar - later translated as a box - that released evil into the world. On the other hand, Pandora was wily and strong as well as beautiful, so perhaps not such a bad role model for a teenage girl.

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Boîte de Pandore

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