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Gaming as storytelling and branding opportunities

How custom skins created a fashion opportunity.
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Players often have the ability to choose the appearance and style of the characters they play, and many games now include the option of recognisable designer brands, too.[1]

Not only does this offer brands a subtle marketing opportunity, weaving items into the game in a natural and authentic way, it also allows gaming companies to position themselves as more culturally relevant, tapping into the wider interests of consumers and part of the mainstream. Recently, we’ve seen big names including Marc Jacobs and Valentino adding designs to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, one of the most popular games of the past year.

Additionally, just as consumers might buy designer fashion in real life, gamers are turning to in-game merchandise in order to compete with others or differentiate themselves online. While various brands are keen to get involved in games like Animal Crossing, luxury fashion brands are also signing up for more exclusive partnership deals. One example is Louis Vuitton, who last year designed two custom skins for heroes Qiyana and Senna in League of Legends. With skins available to purchase from in-game tokens, it means that consumers who can’t afford the ready-to-wear Louis Vuitton collection are still able to (virtually) experience the brand through gaming.

Whilst ‘product placement’ [2] can often come across as shallow or sales driven, Louis Vuitton avoided this by ensuring the partnership involved carefully considered branding and creative storytelling that integrated into the game. The same is evident in Gucci’s tennis collection, the brand didn’t just fix its monogram onto virtual clothes but created authentic and stylistic character outfits that fit the aesthetic of the game.[3]

Watch the video below of Louis Vuitton and Riot Games partnership for the League of Legends World Championship to create a Trophy Travel Case to hold the Summoner’s Cup as well as skins and a clothing collection.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Discuss

  • What do you think of Louis Vuitton’s partnership with League of Legends?
  • Have you seen it or perhaps you have purchased an item?
  • Would you be tempted to make such a purchase if you have not done so already?

Share your answers with your peers in the comments below.

References:
1. What Does a Gamer Look Like? https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/style/gaming-fashion.html
2. What Is Product (3) Placement? Product placement is a form of advertising in which branded goods and services are featured in a production that targets a large audience. Also known as “embedded marketing” or “embedded advertising,” product placements are typically found in movies, television shows, personal videos, radio, and—less commonly—live performances. In exchange for product placement rights, companies may pay a production company or studio in cash, goods, or services.
3. https://www.itsnicethat.com/news/gucci-tennis-clash-fashion-digital-290520

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Fashion and Gaming: How Luxury Fashion Brands Use Gamification

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