So often I come across an invite or social media posting which boldly exclaims from the rooftop “Exclusive VIP” opening or “feeling so VIP”. What does this all mean given that the word VIP is bantered around so often it has actually lost its luster and meaning? Instead I yawn with boredom when those three little letters appear on mostly anything I read. Dirty nail salons with pungent fumes anoint themselves with the word VIP in the title of their shop and a broken down old hotel in South Beach offers visitors a “VIP experience” which consists of a discount to stay in their dilapidated beds. A VIP card to Foot Locker does not bring visions of WOW. This is why financial institutions have invoked the use of the words Centurion, Palladium and Black Card. Need I say more?
VIP is silent and unattainable. Its form is pure luxury and expensive in nature. There is no declaration – it simply is. It teases an invitation and lures with its unspoken description. Magazines and galleries that host a bevy of weekly and monthly events in which a database of hundreds of people are invited are not exclusive. Even whiskey and cognac tasting experiences are sadly diluting this concept because essentially they are targeting the mass market and while these socially interactive events are deemed fun, they are not really offering a real VIP experience even if their brand represents luxury. Meeting Mick Jagger or Damian Hirst is a true VIP and exclusive opportunity. A special tasting with the owner of a legendary distillery house is unique. Vanity Fair and Vogue parties are exclusive because they are highly unattainable and are the cornerstone of fashion and the celebratory foundation for society’s elite. Attendees of a true VIP event may not necessarily be wealthy, but they are movers, shakers and decision-makers in the socio-economic sectors and influence cultural-social trends. That caliber and quality of a VIP event provide true relevance.
Hotels and residential buildings have caught on that VIP is outdated and used often in the wrong context. The word VIP does not entice the attendance of VIPs less it is precluded with true authenticity and significant reference to public icons, bucket list experiences, and exclusive luxury brands such as Fendi, Porsche, and Parmigiani Fleurier. For this reason it is no surprise that words like membership, affluent, limited, and vetting process seem to stimulate excitement and produce far greater interest because there is no guarantee of acceptance to acquire. This can be seen with the highly coveted Bilderberg Group which hosts an annual by invitation only conference brimming with world leaders or the famed Augusta National Golf Club – also by invitation only to join and the famed and prestigious Annabel’s in London.
As I always say – it’s all about the quality; not the quantity. Let’s give real meaning again to VIP and be rid of the Very Indifferent Party.