Limited Edition: The Strategy of Marketing Cultural Exclusivity

When it comes to fashion, technology, content (film, music, artwork, etc.), and a host of other consumer goods, we all like to get what we pay for. Mass produced goods line the aisles of retail chains and boutiques all the same, waiting for us to claim them.

However, those of us who are more frequent consumers, or have a particular niche interest, seem to look for an inherent exclusivity in the products we purchase. Long ago, marketers picked up on this fact and began employing the “limited edition” tactic.

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2012 Limited Edition Olympic Games (London) Coca-Cola Bottles

What does limited edition mean?

The term “Special Edition” or “Limited Edition” when used in marketing management, intends to give the product something new and previously unseen in the regular edition. Limited Edition marketing strategy carries a sense of immediacy and exclusivity as the products would only be available for a short time and/or in limited numbers. – MBAKnol.com

The origin of limited edition goods can be traced back to the publishing industry where goods of the highest quality were sold at a premium price — “Books printed with top quality impressions.”

Flash forward to the present and this strategy is evident in everything from designer wear, luxury automobiles, and mass produced content.

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Source: Unbreakable

So, why do brands employ the tactic of limited edition product lines?

“The reason can range from long-term strategy for building a brand to survival strategy to save an ageing brand.”

For example, in 2011 Dolce & Gabbana released a limited edition run of Animalier Bronzer. “Over 65% of the people who bought Animalier were new to the brand.”