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Gucci, the “couture memes”: A case study

Gucci, the “couture memes”: A case study

Some luxury brands have quickly embraced a new internet language as an unexpected strategy to make their target customers rethink a luxury fashion house.

Since creative director Alessandro Michele took control of Gucci, the brand is at the cutting edge of culture. In 2017, Gucci, the venerable Italian brand, turned memes social media trend into a high class campaign with the launch of its new Le Marché des Merveilles watch line. The #TFWGucci campaign, standing for “That Feeling When Gucci”, is a nod to the famous internet lingo “that feeling when”.

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It provoked a divisive response on social media. The pairing of low-brow internet memes with luxury brands raised some eyebrows, notably in an opinion column published in Fashionista where the author expressed that “When big businesses try to attract younger customers in order to make a profit, it comes off as cringe-worthy, awkward and, to be honest, a lot less fun”. (1 & 2). Did Gucci dive too deep into the meme-sphere? (3). Indeed, the sophisticated brand shattered all preconceptions in commissioning a line of its own memes. Internet memes aren’t particularly synonymous with luxury but still, it fast-forwarded Gucci in the epicentre of the hype. The high fashion brand’s target audience was encouraged to share a series of memes, from absurd to hilarious, created in collaboration with internet artists worldwide, including Rozaline Burkova, John Yuyi, and the accounts @beigecardigan @williamcult. (4).

Gucci Instagram

The collection of edgy graphics designed to promote Gucci products and paired with descriptive captions gave Gucci a refreshing brand makeover. This creative collaboration was made to inspire sharing and make people chuckle with a winning combination of absurd and self-deprecating humour. It was a risky move, as using memes as part of a marketing strategy isn’t the easiest thing to do. Nevertheless, it made some fashionistas talk and raised a few fashion eyebrows, and the campaign seems to have boosted engagement, and Gucci successfully reached a whole new and younger audience. Mission “memes” accomplished!

References:

1.BOBILA MARIA (2017) Here’s Why Gucci’s #TFWGucci Memes Didn’t Really Have to Happen – Fashionista.Fashionista, [Online] Available from: https://fashionista.com/2017/03/gucci-made-memes-so-rip-memes [Accessed 29/04/2021].
2. McCarthy John (2017) Gucci takes a dip into the ever-dangerous world of memes to promote its watches. The Drum, [Online] Available from: https://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/03/22/gucci-takes-dip-the-ever-dangerous-world-memes-promote-its-watches [Accessed 29/04/2021].
3. Jones Cody (2017) The internet has a lot to say about these new Gucci memes. NYPOST, [Online] Available from: https://nypost.com/2017/03/22/the-internet-has-a-lot-to-say-about-these-new-gucci-memes/ [Accessed 29/04/2021].
4. BIRON BETHANY (2017) Gucci is turning to memes to sell watches. Glossy, [Online] Available from: https://www.glossy.co/evolution-of-luxury/gucci-is-turning-to-memes-to-sell-watches/ [Accessed 29/04/2021].

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Digital Playground: Where Luxury Fashion is Finding its Sense of Humour

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