Have you ever heard of phygital marketing? Chances are you probably didn’t. As you might have already guessed, the name of this latest marketing trend is a combination of physical and digital words. Although the name may sound new, you can think of it as a “remake” of good old experiential marketing that has been around for quite some time. More precisely, since 1893! However, it’s only recently that marketers have given this long-standing marketing practice a very modern twist…
Combining physical shopping experiences with digital experiences is not a new concept. However, a plethora of exciting new collaborations from high-end luxury fashion brands and video games have emerged recently. Fueled by the ongoing pandemic, fashion retailers around the world have shifted their marketing efforts to the digital environment.
Given the growing spending power of the new generation of Gen Z and Millennial consumers, the efforts of luxury fashion houses to attract and reach their customers through video games come as no surprise. Video game enthusiasts increasingly showing their interest in fashion as well as increasing number of players, the fashion industry spotted The Opportunity. As a result, we can see many fashion houses experimenting with this new way of marketing retail and exploring many different possibilities of what fashion and gaming collaborations can look like.
One of the pioneers of the haute couture house that made a name for itself in the video game industry is Louis Vuitton thanks to its collaboration with League of Legends, an online video game developed by Riot Games with more than 115 million monthly players. In early 2020, the fashion house released its 40-piece limited LVxLOL capsule collection designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, the brand’s creative director. However, owning an LVxLOL coin is not cheap. Prices range from $170 to $5,600 for a League of Legends exclusive leather jacket. However, that wasn’t the only collaboration between the luxury fashion house and the global esports giant. The two have also collaborated in the past on a set of Prestige Skins, which are essentially add-ons for customizing the in-game avatar’s appearance, also designed by Nicolas Ghesquière. These were released for in-game purchase in 2019. Purchasing such an exclusive outfit for your League of Legends character will cost you around $10.
Fortnite x Balenciaga
One of the most recent fashion x video game collabs we’ve seen is between the Spanish luxury fashion house Balenciaga and the online video game Epic Games Fortnite. Both were inspired by LVxLOL and on September 20, 2021, a digital fashion collection available for purchase in-game as well as a limited edition physical piece was released. Balenciaga and Epic Games have gone a step further with their most recent collaboration and empowered gamers to be featured in the in-game lookbook campaign and show off their brand new Balenciaga look to the entire Fortnite community.
‘Pixel’ Perfect Combination
When you think about it, fashion and games are the perfect combination. Players often spend hours sprucing up their in-game avatars and it’s not just the time they spend on it. DMarket, a global gamer marketplace for trading NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and virtual in-game items, including skins, estimates this marketplace to be worth around 40 billion dollars per year. Considering the amount of money and time spent customizing the look of characters in the game, it’s only natural that the player would want to wear the same outfits.
With fashion interest waning and gaming popularity surging since the start of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that high-end luxury fashion brands are doing their best to get their foot in the door. of this market.
“We are undoubtedly entering a whole new era of experiential retail”
Matthew Drinkwater, Director of Fashion Innovation AgencyFashion College London
Undoubtedly, video games are becoming the new fashion catwalks. Whether it’s a purchase of in-game digital items for the game’s characters or the purchase of the actual clothing item for the player, the combination of video games and fashion is particularly relevant as it offers gamers the opportunity to fully express themselves in the digital environment. . After all, self-expression and displaying your identity is the essence of fashion.
Even though experiential marketing has been around for a while, the success of fashion and gaming collaborations is a good signal and no doubt there are many more luxury and entertainment partnerships to come.
Edited by: Pritha Ray
Blanket: Alex Haney