Fantasy Gift List is a Dream for Luxury Retailers

Don’t look now, but there’s a whole new list of extravagant, incredibly expensive fantasy Christmas gifts that are firmly out of reach for the vast majority of people, and practically guaranteed to make the inner child in most of us squeal with delight.

Someone on your gift list is bound to need a water-powered jet pack, which retails for $99,500 and propels its adrenaline-filled riders over oceans and lakes in a scene straight out of a James Bond thriller.

Or maybe your special person has always, always wanted to act in the Broadway hit musical “Annie.” Now, for a mere $30,000, you can make that dream come true.

What most of us don’t realize is that the real fantasy here is for the retailers involved in this brilliant marketing plan, those at the upscale Dallas, Texas-based Neiman Marcus retail chain who’ve been producing the jaw-dropping, drool-inducing annual fantasy gift list as a part of their annual Christmas Catalog since 1959, and those who are carefully selected for inclusion on the elite list.

“This association with the nation’s leading upscale retailer gives us a tremendous opportunity to reach a discerning customer base who appreciate quality and excellence,” said Bertha González Nieves, co-founder and CEO of Casa Dragones Tequila.

Casa Dragones is prominently featured in the 2012 Neiman Marcus fantasy gift list as part of a $250,000 dinner for ten prepared at the recipient’s home by four of the world’s top chefs. Nieves will hold a professional tequila tasting for the event, and guests receive a personalized, engraved bottle of Casa Dragones, hand-labeled, numbered, and signed.

Neiman Marcus offers a new level of exposure for Casa Dragones, and the same is true for JetLev, creator of the water-powered jet pack.

“We are thrilled that the JETLEV R200 is featured as a fantasy gift in this year’s Neiman Marcus Christmas Book,” said Raphie Aronowitz, vice president of marketing. “The response has been phenomenal, as we have been immediately embraced by both Neiman Marcus’ loyal customer base and the media.”

Other gifts include a $100,000 multi-level hen house, which comes with custom-selected hens, a dining room complete with elegant chandelier, and two custom-designed and installed garden beds.

There’s also the $354,000 2013 Neiman Marcus Edition McLaren 12C Spider in Volcano Red, with a maximum speed of 204 mph (328 kph).

“With a push of a button, the butterfly wing-like doors swoosh open,” reads the catalog. “You glide into the comfortably bolstered seat, taking note of the beautiful red contrast stitching. From the console to the cleverly placed gears and gadgets, it’s as though the entire cockpit has been designed just for your comfort.”

You feel cooler just for looking at it.

With a fantasy list like this, you know long before you dare to peak discreetly at the price tag that if you have to check the price, you can’t afford it. But that’s part of the appeal. The items on this list aren’t just for anyone. In fact, some of them will only be sold once.

That walk-on role alongside Orphan Annie? There’s only one. And the dinner for ten? Those world-famous chefs are being flown to one person’s home.

It takes the word “exclusive” to a whole new level, which is just what Neiman Marcus wants.

“We don’t try to be coy about it. Obviously, what we are hoping is that we get a lot of publicity off of these gifts. These gifts are chosen to gain publicity for Neiman Marcus,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications for the Dallas Business Journal. “When Neiman started doing these in 1959, what the fame of these gifts, the notoriety of these gifts, did, it meant that Neiman Marcus could expand outside of Dallas-Fort Worth without spending a huge investment in advertising.”

For some of the gifts, the fine print notes that shipping, crating, and installation are not included, but not to worry. If you can afford the gifts, surely you can afford the cost of installation. The rest of us can only dream.


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