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Balancing Balenciaga - The Marketing Rorschach Test



As a psychologist, I’ve used the Rorschach Inkblot Test many times over almost four decades. You know, that series of 10 cards with inkblots that many have described as looking like squished bugs. On the first run through, the patient is asked what she/he sees. On the second run through, they’re asked for the specific details of how they arrived at the decision. It has a scoring system and is used to identify underlying psychological and emotional patterns. Many still consider it to be too subjective/projective because of the lack of objectivity. It kind of gives the psychologist a window into the person’s thought patterns by tapping into the subconscious mind.

Basically, people see what they want to see, and the psychologists hired by marketing and ad people are well aware of this. So, if they can give a slight hint at a subconscious level, people will finish the job for them - - and buy the product. As previously discussed in one of my blogs, these slight hints include design, placement, color, messaging, etc.

HOWEVER, if the messaging is too far into the conscious, obvious level, it becomes at the very least ineffective and at the worst offensive. Hence, it requires balance. In addition, people are all different with different experiences. What may trigger one person to buy may be very offensive to another. In other words, it requires highly skilled balance, something that Balenciaga did not calculate.

In this modern age of the internet and social media, almost everything is constantly under a microscope with people looking for small details that lead to big conclusions. In fact, in the hands of a skilled person, the idea of ambiguous pictures can be used to manipulate people. Case in point- in the picture at the beginning of the paragraph, do you see an old hag or a sophisticated lady? It depends on your perspective. So, whether it was their “S&M Child Porn purse” (as some have labeled it) or the “Supreme Court Papers” pic, Balenciaga failed to take into consideration how these might, with the emphasis on “might”, be interpreted.

Unfortunately, many people have gotten away from the idea of being a critical thinker and rely simply on the opinions and observations of others. Here’s a suggestion: Get out of the echo chamber. Stop letting others make up your minds for you. Do your research and-

MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND! Before you become the judge, jury and executioner about Balenciaga based on what others are saying, know the facts.

Remember, opinions are like anal orifices. Everybody has one!

Tikkun Olam- heal the world. Leave it a better place when you leave.

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