Flippin’ Eck!

Flippin’ Eck!

Back in the day Flipper was a friendly dolphin.

Today, if you are savvy around high end automobiles, you’ll know that a Flipper is someone who purchases a rare or limited edition new car and sells it on or, as is often the case, straight back to the supplying dealer…for a profit.
Flippers are able to access these cars – which are in short supply – because they regularly buy base models. They are “good customers” and so are rewarded by dealers with options or build slots for these sought after cars.
These are car guys but more so, they are money men. They have an interest in the car only because they can sell on immediately for profit.

Take the case of the Porsche 991 GT3 RS; list price around £130k. Add options and it’s out the showroom door at around £145k. I know of one which was sold, re-purchased by the dealer and on sale at £195k a few weeks later in their shiny showroom…a cool £50k more than the original selling price. And it moved on again pretty quickly, it didn’t hang around.
So much for first year depreciation. All because demand exceeds supply!

Increasingly interesting cars are being produced as “specials” or “limited editions”. And build numbers are being kept deliberately low to encourage speculation and artificially build “aura” or “halo” for more everyday or regular products.

It’s brand strategy.

It’s long been Porsche policy to “build one less car than the market demands”. Clever if you can get away with it…and they can!

Does this translate across product categories I wonder?

Certainly in high end alcohol where rare limited editions or special packs can quickly create a secondary market after launch. In the case of some brands such as Glenfiddich and the rare Snow Phoenix edition even the empty bottles created a market…got to wonder where these bottles ended up!

I’m told Hermes limited edition handbags have the same story to tell. As do some high end trainers especially in markets such as Japan. So “rare” and hard to get hold of works across high end, luxury and some fashion brands.

So how does an “everyday purchase” brand get some of this action?

There are ways and means; stand back and take a sideways-look at your brand and its business. I’d be willing to bet that hidden away in the provenance or history of most FMCG brands there is a story which – if cleverly told – would allow for the introduction of a “halo” or “aura” limited-edition line designed to surprise and delight loyal users and who knows,maybe encourage a re-think amongst those who have given up or passed by.

Sometimes you just need to take a sideways-look.

Brian Sharp

Brian Sharp

Brian Sharp is both a marketeer and a business manager. He combines global big brand experience and communications creativity with commercial insight – a blend that builds sales and profits via memorable communications.