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Level 5: Creating a Gaming App for Fashion – The Holiday run by Ralph Lauren for Christmas 2020

Brands doing it for themselves
Image of start screen on Polo Holiday Run Game

Until now, I have underlined two ways in which fashion brands and the Video gaming Industry can work together.

The first one is the partnership mode: two companies collaborate by adopting the codes of each other, understanding both universes, and merging creatively with a clear business scope from both sides. The second one is the co-branding partnership: where the risk is to add “a label” to another “label”, without much consideration for the public’s involvement. If the purpose or the collection’s goal is just to “sell more”, the collaboration risks leaving customers feeling their loyalty betrayed. It is time to see a third way of collaboration: via the creation of a gaming app or e-game online.

Thinking of a contemporary brand, Ralph Lauren might not be the first you will have in mind. But it is a mistake: historically, digitally speaking Ralph Lauren was the first brand to adopt a great online communication strategy, embracing the web, especially the ecommerce before most Luxury Fashion brands. In November 2000, the brand presented its e-commerce with more than 2500 styles under The Polo and The Ralph Lauren brands, before Tommy Hilfiger, which until the end of 2000 had only a “2.0 website”[75].

Since then, the brand has seen ups and downs digitally speaking, but its management demonstrated a readiness to embrace new technologies and to adapt to the market with creativity. For the Christmas campaign 2020, the brand created a shoppable virtual game: The Holiday Run, where the bear, yes, the iconic RL bear, had to race to Ralph Lauren stores around the world to collect gifts and discover new products. Ralph Lauren’s Christmas-themed shop-able virtual game is available globally on ralphlauren.com and through Instant Games on Facebook Messenger:

https://holiday-run.ralphlauren.com/

As you have experienced by clicking on the link to play the game, this experience shows the Polo bear running, skiing, riding a horse and skateboarding in front of Ralph Lauren stores around the world (London, Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai) to collect gifts and discover new products. To support this app in Europe, Ralph Lauren invited well-known gaming personalities across the U.K, France and Germany to play The Holiday Run at a live gaming event on Twitch just one week before Christmas[76]. Among them: the french Domingo[77], counting 1,1 million subscribers on Twitch, the English Toby Jizzle (TBJZL) with more than 500K followers and the German Jonas.

The chosen players, through their Twitch channels, played the game and during the streamed event, while twitcher and watchers were able to assist the live performance of bassist and streamer Connor Ball, who performed ‘The Vamps’ exclusive digital concert, together with members of his band. For the occasion, gamers and performers were wearing the most iconic Polo Ralph Lauren looks[78].

By combining all these elements, creating a playful and easy-to-play game, Ralph Lauren was able to speak the “same language” of the lovers of this kind of games. Moreover, by involving professional young gamers into what appeared to be a “tournament”, adding the “live concert” element, the brand showed its commitment to get in touch with the twitcher community: those of gamers, those of watchers and those of brand lovers. Together with other initiatives that the brand started during the holiday season last year 2020, the game “The Holiday Run” represented a significant increase in the amount of investment Ralph Lauren put into digital for the holidays. Online sales have been a bright spot for the company, especially during the pandemic where other channels, brick-and-mortar[79] f.i.- have suffered heavy losses.

Discuss

  • Do you think the Ralph Lauren game is effective in attracting new customers and increasing brand loyalty?

Share your response with your person the comments below.

References:
75. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVeICpFAB-s
76. https://m.facebook.com/events/678509709509881
77. https://www.twitch.tv/domingo
78. https://m.twitch.tv/connorball/clip/OriginalGoldenClipsdadRedCoat
79. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brick-and-mortar

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