As companies look to access and win customers, many have found success in brand collaboration. When properly executed, such corporate cooperation boosts visibility and revenue for both brands.
Gaming once stood on the outskirts of mainstream culture — a hobby stereotypically reserved for middle school boys or adults with too much time on their hands. But in today’s world, all that has changed. Video games are now part of everyday life for men and women of all ages, from Roblox-loving 6-year-olds to 65-year-olds who can not get enough of Nintendo Switch.
Video gaming was once dominated by men, but the percentage of female gamers in the U.S. climbed to 45% in 2021. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the growing popularity of gaming. 55% of U.S. gamers saying they have spent more time playing during the pandemic than before.
In short, video games are a hot industry. There are now 226.6 million video game players in America, and naturally, savvy marketers are taking note. Celebrities and luxury brands are turning to video games to increase their reach and relevancy with the modern consumer.
Here are some of the most successful recent video game and brand collaborations.
Jennifer Lopez x DSW
From Carrie Underwood to Lauren Conrad, many celebrities have started their own clothing line. But Jennifer Lopez has taken the trend to the next level with her DSW shoe line, incorporating an exclusive video game within the marketing campaign. Fans take on Lopez’s persona in the game “Hit Play,” which takes players through New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
Lopez said the “Hit Play” video game is about adding an extra element of fun to the collection launch. It’s an immersive experience that makes waves, draws press and allows fans to resonate with Lopez in a new way.
Fortnite x Balenciaga
Balenciaga is a luxury brand most video gamers simply can not afford. But a recent Fortnite x Balenciaga campaign offers accessibility like never before. The two brands collaborated to release in-game digital apparel that corresponds with a real-life luxury collection. This allows gamers to get a high-end look for their character — without paying to wear the real clothes.
The digital looks include blingy backpacks, tiger-stripe jumpsuits, chain link tops and more creative, high-fashion styles. The Fortnite x Balenciaga brand collaboration is just one example of a growing trend in luxury digital fashion, which gives legacy brands a chance to gain relevance with a younger audience.
Gucci x Roblox
As part of its new digital approach, Gucci is on a mission to “combine the past with the present to tell stories of the future”. They recently made headway on this goal with their first foray into the metaverse. In 2021, Gucci collaborated with gaming platform Roblox to create a virtual Gucci Garden. The Gucci Garden was a series of themed outdoor spaces based on Gucci’s iconic aesthetic.
Because the Gucci Garden was only open for 14 days, the brand collaboration maintained a level of exclusivity and urgency. Roblox players could also purchase exclusive Gucci products directly within the online garden, fostering further connection with the high-end brand. Gucci stated that the marketing campaign was designed to help make fashion and art more attainable to the masses, empowering consumers to greater self-expression.
Louis Vuitton x League of Legends
Louis Vuitton was one of the first luxury brands to capitalize on the video game marketing landscape, partnering with Riot Games to create a one-of-a-kind trophy case for the League of Legends 2019 world championship.
As one of the world’s most popular esports, League of Legends presented a massive, untapped market for the elite brand. Louis Vuitton also used the collaboration as inspiration for a line of in-game cosmetics, as well as a physical capsule collection of skirts, bracelets and boots.
The brand collaboration was mutually beneficial. Riot Games said partnering with Louis Vuitton allowed them to take gaming culture to a new level, one that gamers have been demanding for quite some time.
AAPE x Xbox
Luxury brands are not the only ones scrambling to make their mark on the video game industry. Streetwear brands, too, are collaborating with video games to blur the lines between the virtual world and reality. The popular clothing brand AAPE by *A Bathing Ape pioneered the trend by partnering with Xbox in 2019 to create a digital collection of exclusive clothing and in-game cosmetics.
Both Xbox and AAPE see the brand collaboration as a chance for gamers to connect and build community. Whether they purchase a physical t-shirt or an in-game character skin, they will be able to easily signal their personal style to other gamers.
Marc Jacobs x Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the most popular social simulation games on Nintendo Switch. And high-end fashion brands want in on the action. Marc Jacobs is one of many designers to drop a clothing line made exclusively for the game, allowing Animal Crossing avatars to get a serious wardrobe upgrade.
The Instagram handle @animalcrossingfashionarchive chronicles the many fashion-forward looks that have made a splash on Animal Crossing over the years, including Valentino and Maison Margiela. Designers are building awareness and positioning themselves as a more approachable, brand, thanks to some well-dressed digital characters.
What eCommerce Can Learn from Brand Collaboration
Though eCommerce brands and video game companies may seem like an unlikely match for a collaboration, the two industries have a lot in common. They both treat their customers to immersive experiences and cater to their customers’ high expectations. By partnering with gaming companies, eCommerce brands can capitalize on commonalities and tap into a loyal fan base.
And once eCommerce brands attract that new gamer clientele? Then it is time to level up the customer experience. Check out Scalefast for ideas on selling to gamers and discover valuable takeaways from the gaming industry. Then build a specialized eCommerce store to serve any market.