Louis Vuitton's new directions: a TV ad coming up Feb. 15; Pharrell Williams' jewelry

Posted by: Reena Jana on January 30, 2008

So, luxury label Louis Vuitton has some new ways of building its ultra-recognizable, exclusive, and oft-knocked-off brand this spring.

One, the company is going to launch TV ads on February 15. Will this damage the brand or enhance it? Does it seem Starbucks-desperate? Or does it a time when many analysts and observers are claiming “the death of luxury” as a recession looms?

Then, later this spring, the company will also release a line of Vuitton-branded jewelry by record producer, rapper, songwriter — and designer — Pharrell Williams. Could this be the next cool Murakami-esque sub-brand of Louis Vuitton? (Remember the colorful bags of several seasons ago, featuring Japanese pop-artist Takashi Murakami’s signature bright hues?)

Can Louis Vuitton maintain its respected brand image with so many different messages? Or are there just many different types of Vuitton customer — the one who responds to the sober, elegant print ads featuring Gorbachev, the trendy hipster, and the, well, mass audience who watches TV?

Reader Comments

Lily Smith

February 17, 2008 8:17 PM

I would imagine that while making this decision, the company was more than careful when they decided Pharrell Williams as their guest designer. I'm sure they have done plenty of research as to who would be their target market to buy the jewelry; my guess is it's not the "sober" segment. What this market represents are the young, trendy professionals who's purchasing power of luxury goods has been at an all time high within the past couple of years. My guess is, these are the customers that Louis Vuitton wants to hook in now to spend, let's say, $600-$1,000 on a Pharrell Williams, and then spend $1,500-$10,000 later on bags, luggage, etc.

I'm also thinking that LVMH is being proactive in their capture of the urban hipster market. Over the last decade or so, Moet, Hypnotic, Hennessy, Dom Perignon, etc. have been mentioned to the point of monotony within rap songs. Now, these appear as options on bottle service menus at trendy urban dance clubs (and is selling, mind you), as opposed to the upscale 5 star restaurants as they once were commonly found. What's best for LVMH is although the exclusivity of these products has somewhat decreased, their sales have increased, and their founding target market (the ones dining at the 5 star restaurants) has not left their side as a result. LVMH may be trying to present the next step in the urban consumer's investment in LVMH, Pharrell Williams jewelry. I doubt that they are trying to sell to the "sober" customer with these items, and I also doubt that with the arrival of this line that the "sober" customer will be lost.

Now that we are entering an age where "luxury is for everyone" (through incremental/fractional living) I think companies are using the tactics of careful and smart segmentation to provide different types of luxury to different types of people.

One more thing, Louis Vuttion has created advertising with Gorbachev (among famous others) that have appealed to the market who would have enough money to purchase the luggage featured in the ad. On the other hand, they have featured model/actresses Uma Thurman, Giselle Bundchen, and Scarlett Johanson to advertise their more trendy lines of clothing, swim, jewelry, and handbags. I would suggest that these women have created a fit with a certain demographic that has been able to identify with them. I see your point as to the fact that there are many different brand messages, but I think the Louis Vuitton and LVMH has done an impecable job at segmenting customers according to wants and needs... and means.

Henry

July 9, 2008 4:05 PM

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