Don't Label Me, Bro
Before we get started, perennial wisdom from the greatest cartoonist to ever live, Bill Watterson: "Endorsing products is the American way to express individuality."
I grew up reading Calvin & Hobbes every weekday, and a decade-and-a-half after the last strip went to print, I'm still finding relevant things in it.
To wit: while we were taking a day trip to New York this week, my girlfriend bought an expensive pair of shoes. Every husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend, must recognize what comes next. It's a familiar scenario: One person makes a purchase the other feels is extravagant, an argument ensues, and I lose.
We didn't argue, but we did discuss why she thought the shoes were worth the money. The most important reasons were the style and look of the shoes; how well they were made; and the label. She loves the company, and the shoes were from a very limited edition run, so much so that she may have purchased the last pair in existence. To her, there was no question.
I'm a guy. To me, they look like shoes.
While to my eyes they may just look like shoes with a big price tag, to her they have value well beyond the cost. It doesn't make sense to me, but then it may not make sense to her why I think it's worth it to buy Bose speakers or spend over $400 for a bottle of scotch. I could explain the depth of bass in the speakers, or the flavor and rarity of the whisky, but honestly? I place value in those names. It's not to say those labels aren't of high quality, because both Bose and Oban are top-of-the-line in their respective fields. But the value goes beyond what's tangible.