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The virtual launch: an opportunity for brand innovation

Authors: OPTS Insights Team

Luxury fashion brands such as Burberry and Marc Jacobs have produced some of the most-innovative responses to the Covid-disruption of in-person events. By embracing new platforms, they have produced virtual experiences as good, if not better than, Fashion Week real life shows and managed to reach new audiences.

Burberry livestreamed the launch of its new collection on Twitch with Erykah Badu, Steve Lacy, Rosalía and Bella Hadid hosting the event. More than 40,000 people streamed the stunning woodland show, which was produced by visual artist Anne Imhof, and featured models striding through an enchanted-looking forest. Twitch’s Squad Stream feature meant groups of friends could watch together and control which angles they viewed from.

Guests were able to RSVP on Eventbrite for Marc Jacobs’ online launch party for PERFECT, which kicked off with a live performance from pop star Kim Petras. The Zoom party offered attendees the chance to visit various rooms and take part in activities, including live portrait drawing, personalized poetry and even 1-on-1 photoshoots.

TikTok will host two livestreams per week from 08 October for Virtual London Fashion Week, including runway shows from YSL, Louis Vuitton and JW Anderson. Throughout the month of activity on the platform users will be encouraged to get involved and put their own style on show. At the end of the month, Alice & Olivia will debut an exclusive collection only found on TikTok.

Consumer behaviour has also been disrupted by Covid and people have found technology an essential means for maintaining human contact. This has helped tech literacy spread beyond Gen Z, with large numbers of older consumers now appreciating the benefits of online connectivity. With the host of concerts, training sessions and classes moving online, consumers have become more open to digital experiences and GWI found 80% of people surveyed had attended a virtual event.

In recent years we’ve seen smartphone brands experience diminishing consumer interest from their launch events, however the enforced switch to virtual activities presents an opportunity to connect with new audiences on different platforms.

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