The Shocking Price Tag of Experience

Written By bryanboy

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine who works in PR whinged how one of her clients questioned a $12 Starbucks receipt when she asked to be reimbursed for expenses. My friend laughed it off, saying, “I can’t believe they questioned coffee with one of the editors when I got them over $2 million dollars worth of press that month”.

Like any werqing gurl with dreams of nice shoes, nice bags and nice jewishry, I mean, jewelry, my eyes ballooned to the size of dinner plates when I heard the phrase “two million dollars”.

The curious cat in me asked, “how did you come up with the two million dollar figure?”

She explained to me how PR companies have records of most magazine and newspapers’ circulation figures and rate cards. When a product receives exposure, they mathematically calculate the value of based on the type of coverage, the actual size, the images used, etc. She also told me how that value is multiplied twice or thrice if a product was shot in a fashion spread because it’s not a “write-up” and it looks more “legit and authentic” to the reader.

It’s all fascinating, isn’t it? Oh the things I learn each day…


While we’re on the subject of value…

I can’t remember (more like, I totally forgot) what I was searching earlier because I landed on Charitybuzz once again. It’s that amazing website that auctions unique experiences with proceeds going to charity. I’m no stranger to that site. I remember how they auctioned off a trip to American Vogue’s offices not too long ago.

Anyway, I was toying around the site until I discovered that they’ve auctioned off fashion show tickets as well.

That’s right — all for charity’s sake!

Take a look at the price of fashion show tickets: Rebecca Minkoff – $5,000, Rodarte – $10,000, Dennis Basso – $12,000, Rebecca Taylor – $5,000, L.A.M.B Gwen Stefani – $10,000, Nicole Miller – $10,000, BCBG Max Azria – $10,000, Theysken’s Theory – $15,000, Reed Krakoff – $4,000, J Mendel – $7,000, Vera Wang – $7,000.

Of course, some of these have value-added bonuses such as a free bag, dress or a coat, or quick ‘meet and greet’ sessions which last anywhere between the time it takes to exchange air kisses to a few minutes.

And then you have the $25,000 Victoria’s Secret fashion show and after party invitation which I’m sure many, horny, testosterone-laden middle-aged men with hairy backs would be willing to fork over a cheque. Heck, some Russian billionaire’s son (who has yet to be identified) gifted Zac Efron a $100,000 bottle of champagne.

Not many of them mentioned seat assignments (with the exception of Richard Chai who offered a front row seat for Richard $7,500) so for all you know, you could be sitting in row Siberia!

How much would a Texan oil billionaire’s daughter pay for my front-row Valentino spring/summer 2012 ticket? How much would a Chinese tai-tai shell out for my front-row Louis Vuitton show invite? An amount with too many zeroes, that’s for sure. Or maybe three words: PRICE UPON REQUEST.


In light of all these figures, I cannot help but think, holy rich people of the world batman, those fashion show invites are worth a goldmine! Think about all the shows, the seats, the meet and greets, backstage trips, both mens and women’s, which I’ve attended, have skipped or missed, over the past few years, for free mind you (ok if you want to be technical, all at the price of a plane ticket and bunking at hotels or apartments)… oh my gosh, I can’t even put a hypothetical dollar value in it! Can you?

I repeat — I know and I understand that it’s all for a good cause. I think it’s great that designers are contributing to such charitable efforts as well. Also, I have no qualms with the idea of people buying whatever brings them happiness (i.e. paying for material things or intangible experiences).

I’m still dumbfounded by all of this.

There are people who are sacrificing family time, personal relationships, health, sleep, quality of life, etc to go to the shows because of work, passion and love for the industry but for some, it’s all as easy as writing a check for a couple of thousand of dollars.

Interesting, no?


  1. Danelle Bhana Coetzee

    I know about those PR figures, I used to work at a newspaper as a marketing: promotions & events coordinator & freelance fashion writer & we did it, coz its published & priceless!

  2. Daniel Wong

    Oh please, the figures are often inflated…esp magazines with so called international circulation…doesnt matter if most of it ended up in their plastic wrappers and in a bargain bin long after it’s worth

  3. I can’t believe that they auction fashion show tickets for charity. While some people had to work their way slowly to the top, some can just pay ten thousand dollars and go to a show. Well, PR statics certainly are interesting.

  4. Yes it is interesting but don’t worry, Bryan. Your day will come and those precious jewells will be all yours. Ick.

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