Louis Vuitton takes luxury digital

01 October 2010

PARIS: Louis Vuitton, the luxury brand, is heightening its use of digital channels such as social media and online video to engage consumers.

In October, the French label will transmit a fashion show live on Facebook for the third time, with this event also being made available to watch through iPhone and iPad apps.

Netizens visiting "The Art of Travel by Louis Vuitton" page can choose from various camera viewpoints around the catwalk, and receive a badge placing them on a "virtual guest list".

A corresponding video presentation and further material should then be added to Facebook and YouTube, in an indication of the organisation's advancing approach.

"Digital is a core, core component of our strategy," Kamel Ouadi, Louis Vuitton's digital media manager, said at Advertising Week.

Over the course of 16 months, Louis Vuitton has secured 1.3m Facebook fans and 145,000 Twitter followers.

Around 679,000 also follow the brand on YouTube and 26,400 on Foursquare.

"We work in an industry where innovation is really important. We want to be the number one luxury brand in the digital world so we're taking it very seriously," said Ouadi.

Although mixing the mass appeal of properties like Facebook with the exclusivity epitomised by high-end products could seem questionable, Ouadi suggested the initiative will actually prove beneficial.

"Social media is very interesting and brings opposite personalities together. There's this idea of openness and of community [which] lets consumers connect and share," he said.

"Social media have to feel and provide respect to the user - it's about trust and authenticity."

Moreover, interactive platforms accentuate the "emotional aspects" of premium goods, otherwise often viewed as "arrogant and distant."

"When you put together opposites in the landscape like this, it's a great source of innovation and emotion," Ouadi said.

A key challenge facing companies seeking to attract customers online – as Louis Vuitton's lifestyle portal Nowness.com does – is ensuring that they keep delivering relevant material.

"Sometimes I feel like a TV programmer. Every week, I have to ask myself, 'What is the story this week?'" Ouadi continued.

"Content is everything," Ouadi said. "It's pretty hard to express yourself better in a banner."

Louis Vuitton's on-going Core Values campaign, which has featured celebrities from the arts and sport, alongside an effort linked to the 40th anniversary of the moon landing were based on similar principles.

"Each experience is customised, unique and personalised and can be shared," Ouadi said.

Last year, it also partnered with film-maker Wong Kar Wai to hold a competition asking that consumers submit short pieces discussing the theme of a "journey", receiving 200 submissions.

Data sourced from NMA/ClickZ/Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff