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November 25, 2008

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Art as medium Art mentoring Co-branding/ partnership Customization Digital marketing Innovative settings Social networking

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Art as medium

Christian Dior Goes East
To help fill the ‘lull’ following the Beijing Olympics, fashion house Christian Dior has announced it will open a ‘Christian Dior and Chinese Artists Exhibit’, an exhibition which focuses on the greater inspirations of the Far East on the house of Dior. The multimedia show features more than 20 specifically commissioned works, including video, photography, paintings, sculptures and a garden-like installation, which will be shown in tandem with some of the Dior originals, including archival dresses by the founding couturier and John Galliano, fine jewellery by Victoire de Castellane, menswear by Kris Can Assche in addition to perfumes and accessories. The exhibit will open on 15 November at Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing and is an effective way of allowing consumers to interact with the brand in a creative environment. http://www.thefashionspot.com/news/china-and-the-house-of-dior-s-mutual-inspiration-939

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Art as medium

Diane von Furstenberg’s Be Wonder Woman
Well known fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg has recently announced that she is launching a comic book to support and promote her new ‘Wonder Woman’ collection. The DC comic, authored by the designer herself, is entitled ‘Be the Wonder Woman you want to be - Featuring the Adventures of Diva, Viva and Fifa’ and will accompany the launch of her latest holiday collection. The publication will be sold for US$25 at DvF stores and online at www.dvf.com, along with a $50 T-shirt and a $230 tote – all of which will benefit the Vital Voices charity which supports women entrepreneurs. The comic aims to reflect and promote the message psychology behind the collection. Furstenberg has apparently always wanted to write a comic, she is quoted as sating: “I am Diva, Viva and Fifa altogether, I am DVF,”. “It’s not so much that I identify with each of them, though. The idea is that if you feel insecure, look at yourself in the mirror, and through the reflection remember to be the Wonder Woman you can be. That’s my message.” This move is not only an unusual piece of support marketing, but more pertinently uses a media type that dovetails perfectly with the product it promotes.”

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Art as medium

Vivienne Westwood – Active Resistance to Propaganda
Vivienne Westwood, the iconic English designer behind the eponymous fashion brand that carries her name, is continuing to promote and drive awareness of her proclaimed ‘manifesto’, entitled Active Resistance to Propaganda. The concept, which includes ideas about art and culture is played out as a dialogue between 25 different characters (including Pinocchio, Aristotle and Alice of Alice in Wonderland) aims to encourage all intellectuals in the fight against propaganda and to provoke discussion about contemporary art and its possible future. Dame Westwood is presenting the idea at universities and museums across the UK in a bid to encourage them to think about their work and try to make them think about the future. The activity could be perceived as a CSR initiative for the brand, which is being executed in an alternative, bold way which fits with the rebellious personality of the label. http://www.activeresistance.co.uk/

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Art mentoring
Rolex Mentoring Scheme
Premium watchmaker Rolex has just announced the protégées that will make up its 2008/2009 mentoring program, ‘The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative’. The brand’s scheme involves leading figures from the worlds of dance, film, literature, music, theatre and the visual arts, who mentor young upcoming talents for one year allowing them to hone their abilities and help them establish themselves. As government artist grants have recently been cut, this year’s scheme seems even timelier. The project allows Rolex to connect with a younger more artistically literate target, while also upholding authority and existence in a more figurehead role / position. It also allows the brand to align itself with high-end artistic pursuits and creates a very emotional, ‘good’ standpoint – a tangible investment in creative development is being made. Further details can be found at http://www.rolexmentorprotege.com/en/ which also gives details of the judging panel and this year’s talents.

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Art mentoring
Swarovski: The Three Graces
Global crystal maker Swarovski is once again collaborating with well known art publication Tank Magazine for a competition to find budding film makers and producers. ‘The Three Graces’ challenge, which is allowing the brand to connect with a young, creatively liberal, style conscious audience, is an open call to all creatives within the moving image space to develop a short film based on one of three bespoke tracks, by artists such as Metronomy and Giant Drag, which have been created especially for the project. Submissions will be judged on how characteristics of joy and radiant beauty are presented on the screen. The brand has work closely with Tank magazine since 2004, in which time the experimental use of video and media platforms has helped transform perceptions of the brand. Creatives interested in submitting work can register at the dedicated website www.tankthreegracesfilms.com/.

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Art mentoring

Paul Smith Invests in Future Talent
Fashion designer Paul Smith has launched a CSR scheme focusing on nurturing young creative talent both in the UK and abroad. The designer is funding an exchange program for young people studying at Nottingham Trent University, giving four students the chance to fly out to the Bunka Women’s Institute, a private university in Tokyo, where they will spend 10 weeks studying design. As part of the initiative the selected students will also meet Paul Smith himself, work with the Paul Smith Japan team, learn more about the business and attend exhibitions and events in the designer’s store there. Two students from Japan will also be given the opportunity to study a year long master’s degree in fashion futures at Nottingham Trent University. Paul Smith is an innovative and forward-thinking brand and by making a genuine, tangible investment in the creatives of the future this allows it to demonstrate a real commitment to its sector as well as potentially training the latest generation of designers. http://www.jupitercreative.co.uk/blog/2008/10/13/paul-smith-creative-exchange/

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Art mentoring

Swarovski Launches Annual Design Competition
Swarovski Elements has launched the 2008/09 edition of its Enlightened web-based design competition, which invites international jewellery and design lovers from across the globe to share their ideas, creativity and unique jewellery designs. Participants can log on to www.enlightened-jewellery-design-competition.com/ and upload existing designs or work with the virtual toolkit provided to construct a pendant, based on models provided by the system which incorporate the existing Enlightened - Swarovski Elements genuine Topaz assortment. The site not only utilizes the latest technologies in web tools, but also acts almost as a social network and ‘hub’ of designers, where creatives can create and showcase work, network with other designers and give and provide feedback creating a truly interactive experience.

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Co-branding/ partnership

Roberto Cavalli and Coca-Cola Light bottles in Italy
Iconic Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has put his name to a series of limited-edition Coca-Cola Light bottles, following in the footsteps of other well known designers Jonathan Saunders, Matthew Williamson and Julian Macdonald. The run of 300,000 bottles will be distributed exclusively in Italy, from September through to December, and the designer has described the bold designs, which adopt his typical outlandish style and signature animal prints, as ‘seductive and feminine’. The collectors bottles should resonate well with the drink’s core, loyal female customer base as the sexy, almost seductive designs have strong feminine appeal.

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Co-branding/ partnership
Lexus and Fairmont Hotel partnership
Lexus has signed a strategic partnership with the Fairmont Hotel chain to offer its customers something ‘extra’ when staying at selected properties. ‘Hybrid Living Suites’, which are designed to fit with the values of the Lexus hybrid vehicles, have been created at Fairmont Hotel properties in San Francisco and Washington with both of the luxurious suites boasting furniture, bedding and towels made from organic, sustainable and renewable resources and minibars are stocked with "biodynamic" wines and organic farmstead cheeses. As part of the package, guests will also be provided with a Lexus LS 600h hybrid sedan at no extra cost. Meanwhile, for a more routine hotel stay, Lexus owners at 13 other boutique hotels across the country, all receive $100 vouchers for dining and spa services. Those hotels also will offer no-charge access to Lexus vehicles to test drive.

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Co-branding/ partnership
Louis Vuitton - Commes des Garcons Pop Up Store in Tokyo
Legendary fashion brands Louis Vuitton and Comme des Garçons this week opened a hugely anticipated Pop-Up store in the Aoyama fashion district of Tokyo, Japan to mark Vuitton’s 30th anniversary of retailing in the city. The temporary outlet, which will be open until mid-December, adopts Commes des Garcon’s very urban, sleek styling and has been opened to give customers the chance to order six one-off, very exclusive bags. Orders for the accessories will be taken only at this one store, not by telephone or e-mail, and will be available for pick-up in six to nine months at selected Louis Vuitton shops. Although both brands have very contrasting backgrounds and brand philosophies, the collaboration will allow them both to target a fresh set of audiences and to build on and leverage the others iconic status, the idea that the power of two is often better than one. This partnership’s core focus is about exclusivity, an exclusive store with an exclusive range for an exclusive consumer set and is a clever idea as luxury consumers increasingly demand new takes on the unique, one-off product experience.

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Customization
Fendi: Design Your Dream Baguette
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its iconic baguette bag, Fendi invites consumers in the Asia Pacific region to create their own designs online. This engaging and interactive experience leverages the trend for consumer generated content and aims to inspire consumer creativity. An innovative ‘canvas’ computer design program is launched at a dedicated microsite - www.fendi.com/10plus - where visitors can devise their own personal handbag design - choosing different patterns, colours, logos etc. Once designs are submitted, they can be saved and forwarded to friends, increasingly the virality of the activity. Seven winners will be given the opportunity to visit the Palazzo Fendi in Rome, Italy and discover the whole design, production, merchandising and retail processes first hand. A regional online banner ads drives traffic to the website.

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Digital marketing

Polo Ralph Lauren and Mobile Commerce service in the USA
Polo Ralph Lauren has this month become one of the first luxury retailers in the US to launch a mobile commerce site and incorporate Quick Response (QR) codes into its ads. The QR technology (a two-dimension symbol that holds a large volume of information and automatically connects the user to a specified internet portal simply by holding their device over the given symbol or photographing it) means that consumers will be able to link directly to Ralph Lauren’s limited edition 2008 US Open Collection, and the Ralph Lauren Classics online via scanning codes appearing in print ads, store windows and mailers. As well as offering a shopping functionality, the mobile site http://m.ralphlauren.com also provides a Ralph Lauren Style Guide and exclusive content including tennis videos and tournament articles – all of which is accessible anytime, anywhere.

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Digital marketing

Louis Vuitton and Soundwalks
Leading designer accessories brand Louis Vuitton has introduced its first digital product in the form of an innovative and exciting travel project called ‘Soundwalks’ - a web 2.0 version of a conventional city guide which consumers can download and save onto their iPod. Narrated by the calming voices of three of the greatest icons of Chinese Cinema (Gong Li for Beijing, Joan Chen for Shanghai and Shu Qi for Hong Kong), the first series of Soundwalk take travellers on an intimate journey into the lives of its narrators, who, while sharing their stories give consumers a personal and direct view of their cities. The guides are available in six languages and provide a vibrant and very personal experience. This is a nice transition from the brand’s previous ‘A Journey’ campaign (also its first use of TV) and jetsetters can download their MP3 journeys at http://louisvuittonsoundwalk.com.

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Innovative settings
Prada’s Space Transformer
Prada continues to build its legacy for innovation and originality with this new multifunctional space project called the Prada Transformer. Exhibited in Seoul, South Korea, the space is a result of a collaboration with Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and AMO and the structure is designed to accommodate various art, cinema, and fashion events. Unlike anything ever seen before, the space is transformed by rotating and flipping the structure with cranes into one of the four different floor configurations. The form of the Transformer is derived from a Tetrahedron and when rotated each side facilitates a different cultural program. Each of the four programs will function on unique steel framed shapes including a hexagon, a cross, a rectangle and a circle. Thus, over the course of the exposition, floors will become walls and walls will become ceiling.

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Innovative settings

Chanel’s New Home from Home
As part of the launch for its latest fragrance No.5 Eau Premiere, which went on sale on 5 October, Chanel opted for an intimate ‘brand home’ at a 250 metre square private Parisian apartment. Applauded set, window and interior designer Jean-Marc Gaby was brought on board to create the experiential party which aimed to bring both the new scent and the heritage of the brand to life. The apartment featured a constant fountain which sprayed drops of the new fragrance into the air, a montage of large format photography featuring the brand’s iconic figures - from Marilyn Monroe to Nicole Kidman - and artfully arranged test sprays.

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Innovative settings
BMW Hour Glass for the 7 Series launch
To mark the start of the hugely anticipated autumn build up to the launch of the new BMW 7 Series, the German automaker has built the world’s largest hourglass in the Russian city of Moscow. The impressive and imposing glass and acrylic construction is filled with 180,000 silver balls car and hoisted 40 feet above the ground in the city’s Red Square. The glass contraption, which has created much online buzz since it first went up, formed the focus of the Never Stand Still launch party which saw the car unveiled to 400 invited guests and celebrities, as the balls slowly fed through the hourglass and revealed the vehicle. See http://www.never-stand-still.com/

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Social networking
Maserati Video Podcasts
Maserati has launched a regular video podcast to keep consumers up to date with brand / company news. Challenged to create a new channel of consumer communication and to provide engaging multimedia content that is available on-demand, the initiative ensures that Maserati consumers 9and fans) are kept up-to-date with all product news and developments. The Video Podcast allows the automatic download of video and audio files using free software such as iTunes and FeedReader. Content includes footage of new models, VIP events, and spectacular races - giving consumers ‘privileged’ access to fresh / exciting information. Subscribers can choose to watch the audio and video files straight away, save them for another time or transfer them to a portable reader.

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Social networking
Sheraton and Microsoft Surface in the USA
Luxury hotel group Sheraton has partnered with computer giant Microsoft to launch ‘Microsoft Surface’ a guest-only social networking hub in selected hotel lobbies across Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. 30 inch computer table-like displays, which work with a mouse or keyboard, allow people to interact with a wide range of content such as information on local retail stores and events (CityTips), as well as listening to music (Sheraton Sounds) or watching videos whilst relaxing in the hotel. The service, which is a nice way of providing consumers with branded utility – something useful and helpful for free, is being promoted via signage in properties, as well as via booking emails and websites. By partnering with an expert in another field who shares some core brand values, this also allows Sheraton to create a more powerful product. It may be developed further down the line to include vouchers for local sites or attractions and offers from local restaurants.

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Social networking
Cartier: MySpace Love Collection
Cartier has extended the campaign for its iconic Love Collection, into the social networking arena and is using MySpace to connect with a younger, more digitally savvy audience. The branded page features love-centric, exclusive music from artists like Lou Reed and Marion Cotillard, as well as videos of interviews with them answering the question, "How far would you go for love?" The site also includes 12 short videos by famed French director Olivier Dahan and information on Cartier Love products. This takes the Love Collection to the people, allowing them to interact with the brand in their own time and on a platform where they actually chose and volunteer to be. People can add the Love Collection to their friends and post messages on the page allowing a very vertical, intimate conversation.

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