1. Who you gonna call?
Sony Pictures and its licensee family will be hoping not to get slimed when the Ghostbusters reboot hits cinemas next month. Reaction to the movie’s product tie-ins has been muted, weighed down perhaps by the most hated trailer in YouTube history.
We hope the new movie delivers, but from creative concept to product roll-out, there is a sense that the movie’s producers may have become over-confident in the depth of pop culture affection for the franchise, following the recent outbreaks of geek-mania for Star Wars and Back to the Future.
Is Ghostbusters’ phantom performance a sign of consumer pushback against meta-level movie exploitation?
In a month where several mainstream retailers and brands launched platforms for special collaboration/co-creation projects (e.g. John Lewis, S. Oliver, IKEA…Mailchimp), edgy labels seemed to be shifting their focus to commodifying the trend. The Florence SS17 show of streetwear darling, Gosha Rubchinskiy, featured six collaborations (including Sergio Tacchini, Kappa and Fila) while Vetements’ Paris show counted no fewer than 18, from Hanes to Comme des Garçons.
Are we in a collaboration bubble? Or is it yet another sign of consumer thirst for unique experiences within brands?
3. Branching out?
Louis Vuitton is no stranger to collaborations, but its traditional focus has been more about channeling the artistic flair of Sprouse or Murakami than reaching into other labels’ domains. That changed this month: first with a teaser of a collaboration between Menswear artistic director Kim Jones and NikeLab, followed by the release of a full-blown co-branded footwear/accessories collection with Hiroshi Fujiwara’s fragment design.
Is this new, more outgoing personality just a one-off tactic to bring new exclusivity to a specific channel (Isetan)? Or a reaction to a growing consumer base making luxurious purchases outside traditional luxury structures?
4. Virtually real
News about the explosive growth of eSports business has become increasingly common over the last couple of years. But recent stories point to a convergence between virtual platforms and reality that will surely impact on the business of sport, entertainment and fan participation. Football clubs like VfL Wolfsburg, West Ham and Valencia CF are awarding professional contracts to tournament players of EA Sports’ FIFA.
Even more mind-blowing was the news from Sony that its November update of Gran Turismo will be sanctioned by FIA. The move sees the introduction of official rules, an online World Championship and a FIA Gran Turismo Digital Race License that provides sofa-based drivers with a path into real-world racing.
5. Vapid and real
If you’re like me, you might fail to see much more than novelty value in custom emoji. However a fascinating read in The Ringer sheds light on the world of virtual stickers and what they mean to users and brands: “[they] take you from participating in something, to being the something people are participating in.”
The article claims Amber Rose’s MuvaMoji keyboard app grossed $4 million in the week following launch. Meanwhile, the phenomenally successful Kimoji app has since spawned a dedicated merch spin-off based on Kim Kardashian’s unique brand of class and ass.
On a more sedate note, we liked this activation by the Belgian Brewers Association. After all, not all beers are created equal…
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