Gimmicky additives

Holidays tend to bring out a slew of traditional trends and one that pulls at my temptation strings is “eating out lavishly.”

Googling “lavish dining” peaked my interest as I stumbled across some downright entertaining infographics featuring some of the most expensive foods from around the world. It also confirmed that my idea of lavish is by no means near what some view the same word to mean!

Either way, the infographic obsession got my marketing mind thinking so I attached an exclamation point to the chart and forwarded the info graphic to my husband who is a 3-decade James Beard Chef out of Normandy. I asked him to offer a culinary perspective on the items listed.

I quickly learned many of the dishes were well known ploy’s due to their massive buzz and press appeal and they also serve as great additions to charity auctions and other fundraisers needing some a touch of marketable sizzle! The practice of a chef adding his signature onto a traditional dish by amplifying the garnish or presentation, such as diamond dust, crushed pearls or 14-karet gold, still carries priceless impact in today’s challenging cobweb-like masquerade known as restaurant marketing.

At Serendipity 3 in New York, guests can enjoy the “Grand Opulence” sundae. The dessert is served in a Baccarat crystal goblet with an 18-karet gold spoon plus drizzled in the world’s most expensive chocolate. Created to celebrate Serendipity’s 50th anniversary 10 years ago, the dessert has won the Guinness World Record for the most expensive ice cream sundae. Over a decade later, the same dish is still served and written about! The founders admit the US$1,000 price tag is outrageous but when all is said and done, “snob appeal” still attracts and sells keeping their brand afloat!

At Serendipity 3 in New York, guests can enjoy the Guinness World Record-winning "Grand Opulence” sundae.
At Serendipity 3 in New York, guests can enjoy the Guinness World Record-winning “Grand Opulence” sundae.

In the retail industry, age-defying facial products will go to market with unfathomable price tags thanks to serums and gels containing a sprinkle of caviar, gold, pearls or rare gemstone. Whatever the puffery, the barely measureable additive often appears big and bold on the product packaging to justify the outlandish price. For example, Neiman Marcus still raves about the iconic effect of using the same practice to showcase select items that “intrigue indulgence” via its annual holiday catalogue that has become iconic to shoppers.

In the food and beverage industry, touting a first-to-crop mango orange could potentially set a guest back by US$4,200. While a saffron prized spice with 75,000 filaments or a Wagyu beef from a cow raised on daily massages and beer is a PR practice that will bring em’ in sometimes regardless of price.

Grasping onto “gimmicky additive” marketing at a time when most hotel brands are pushing for “all things local” can be mentally challenging at first. But when a single charm worthy token is created and it pushes believability to the edge, it can be leveraged to perform PR exposure miracles! The key is sensibly leveraging in the same manner Serendipity did with their iconic draw.

What are some of the iconic or charm-worthy creations that have caught your eye lately? And, would or could they transcend into hospitality?