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Gamer Goals

Gamer Goals

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

November 25, 2019

Pierre Acuña of Havas Sports & Entertainment on connecting iconic fashion house Louis Vuitton with more than 100 million gamers worldwide.

"The idea of extending what Louis Vuitton has done in more traditional sports to esports was only natural"

For brands, esports offers massive opportunities to connect with—and influence—new and digitally focused Gen Z audiences. This is why Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championship, held in Paris’ AccorHotels Arena earlier this month, served as a powerful platform for Havas Sports & Entertainment and iconic fashion house Louis Vuitton.

The luxury brand partnered up with the global competition to design a one-of-a-kind trophy case to hold the coveted Summoner’s Cup, which was awarded to Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix on Sunday earlier this month.

Pierre Acuña, Head of Gaming and Esports at Havas Sports & Entertainment, shares why marketers should open their eyes to the value of esports, and how Louis Vuitton will benefit by collaborating with the competition that draws almost as many viewers as the Super Bowl.

 

The collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Riot Games, prior to the League of Legends World Championship, might be seen as unexpected, but why did it make sense?

League of Legends has succeeded in creating a truly iconic esports game based on strong symbolic values, the colorful players and their victories and defeats, the stadiums and rivalries, and perhaps most of all, the trophy, the celebrated Summoner’s Cup. That’s where it all started for Louis Vuitton. The idea of extending what the legendary French fashion house has done in more traditional sports to esports was only natural.

Last year, the League of Legends World Championship had an audience of 99.6 million unique viewers. That’s impressive, but why do you think a brand like Louis Vuitton would appeal to gamers?

The brand-gamer match was already present, as Louis Vuitton had used a gaming character from Final Fantasy as a model as early as 2015. From the beginning, Louis Vuitton was aware of the lifestyle habits and tastes of League of Legends players. Just look at the Invictus Gaming players who won last year’s World Championship—you’ll notice that on stage, all these young guys are wearing luxury labels and hype shoes (Gucci, Balenciaga, Nike Air, Yeezy). Most of these players are what we can call “fashion addicts.”

The French fashion house crafted a one-of-a-kind trophy travel case, exclusive to the Summoner’s Cup, which features traditional Louis Vuitton savoir-faire along with high-tech elements inspired by the game itself. Tell us more about this project.

Maison Louis Vuitton has an extensive traditional relationship with trophy travel cases. The common point uniting all these special-order items is that they are made for prestigious sporting events. Since League of Legends is not a traditional sport, Louis Vuitton and Riot Games had to work closely together to ensure that the travel case respected the game’s DNA. The travel case, revealed before the final, used state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and it took Louis Vuitton over 900 hours to create. 

What are your thoughts regarding the esports market?

It’s certainly booming. From Asia to the US, from Brazil to Russia, esports is global. Competitive gaming is so dynamic and new games pop up every month, attracting new players and new competitors. We have two great examples. Fortnite is already a social phenomenon after just two years, while the opening ceremony of the League of Legends World Championship pushes boundaries every year. It’s becoming as lauded as the Super Bowl.

"Esports is global, and it’s a real opportunity for Louis Vuitton to engage with Generations Z and Y"

Louis Vuitton has been in business for almost two centuries, while League of Legends has been around for just a decade. How did the brands work together to innovate?

Well, in their own way they are both vigorous creative forces. We might even say that Riot Games and Louis Vuitton share the same creative sensibility. Nicolas Ghesquière was on target when it came to designing in-game skins alongside Riot Games designers. For both, it was really a traditional creative process, except that the models were no longer human but rather playable characters.

The campaign between Louis Vuitton and Riot Games features unique skins and a capsule collection designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of the Louis Vuitton women’s collection. How did you come up with this idea?

Players in League of Legends can pay for skins that personalize the appearance of their gaming character. Some skins are very rare and some are related to specific events. In any case, it’s all about fashion. It was crystal clear that Louis Vuitton would design in-game skins while, of course, taking into consideration the fact that fans are uncomfortable with the over-branding of their favorite games. In the end, Nicolas Ghesquière designed two skins.

Louis Vuitton has been involved in the design of trophy cases for other major sporting events, including Roland-Garros and the FIFA World Cup. How would you compare those opportunities with the League of Legends World Championship?

The League of Legends World Championship reaches a brand-new audience. Esports is global, and it’s a real opportunity for Louis Vuitton to engage with Generations Z and Y, which is largely represented in the demographically young Asian region. This collaboration will strengthen LV’s position as an innovative brand for years to come.

Next year, the World Championship returns to China—would it be something you think about as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with Riot Games?

It’s a big opportunity. China is the heart of the esports market. If the feedback from the first test setup for the French final is positive, Louis Vuitton could accelerate on the communication and commercial aspects of the partnership. Chinese actor Zhu Yilong was among Riot Games’ guests at Worlds 2019, and he sported a prototype t-shirt that will be part of the Louis Vuitton capsule collection inspired by the League of Legends universe, available in early 2020.

The League of Legends Championship was held earlier this month. What was it like to be involved in this and what was the reaction to the Louis Vuitton partnership?

What an amazing show it was! Havas Sports & Entertainment had the privilege to work on three different partnership activations during this weekend (AccorHotels, OPPO, and Louis Vuitton). We assume our clients were very happy with the show produced by Riot Games, and especially with the opening ceremony. Even though Europe lost in the end, we genuinely think that it was the perfect occasion to show non-endemic brands how big esports is.

On a personal note, I would say that being in charge of implementing partnership activations around esports with these iconic brands was kind of a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier right now.

"The idea of extending what Louis Vuitton has done in more traditional sports to esports was only natural"

For brands, esports offers massive opportunities to connect with—and influence—new and digitally focused Gen Z audiences. This is why Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championship, held in Paris’ AccorHotels Arena earlier this month, served as a powerful platform for Havas Sports & Entertainment and iconic fashion house Louis Vuitton.

The luxury brand partnered up with the global competition to design a one-of-a-kind trophy case to hold the coveted Summoner’s Cup, which was awarded to Chinese team FunPlus Phoenix on Sunday earlier this month.

Pierre Acuña, Head of Gaming and Esports at Havas Sports & Entertainment, shares why marketers should open their eyes to the value of esports, and how Louis Vuitton will benefit by collaborating with the competition that draws almost as many viewers as the Super Bowl.

 

The collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Riot Games, prior to the League of Legends World Championship, might be seen as unexpected, but why did it make sense?

League of Legends has succeeded in creating a truly iconic esports game based on strong symbolic values, the colorful players and their victories and defeats, the stadiums and rivalries, and perhaps most of all, the trophy, the celebrated Summoner’s Cup. That’s where it all started for Louis Vuitton. The idea of extending what the legendary French fashion house has done in more traditional sports to esports was only natural.

Last year, the League of Legends World Championship had an audience of 99.6 million unique viewers. That’s impressive, but why do you think a brand like Louis Vuitton would appeal to gamers?

The brand-gamer match was already present, as Louis Vuitton had used a gaming character from Final Fantasy as a model as early as 2015. From the beginning, Louis Vuitton was aware of the lifestyle habits and tastes of League of Legends players. Just look at the Invictus Gaming players who won last year’s World Championship—you’ll notice that on stage, all these young guys are wearing luxury labels and hype shoes (Gucci, Balenciaga, Nike Air, Yeezy). Most of these players are what we can call “fashion addicts.”

The French fashion house crafted a one-of-a-kind trophy travel case, exclusive to the Summoner’s Cup, which features traditional Louis Vuitton savoir-faire along with high-tech elements inspired by the game itself. Tell us more about this project.

Maison Louis Vuitton has an extensive traditional relationship with trophy travel cases. The common point uniting all these special-order items is that they are made for prestigious sporting events. Since League of Legends is not a traditional sport, Louis Vuitton and Riot Games had to work closely together to ensure that the travel case respected the game’s DNA. The travel case, revealed before the final, used state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and it took Louis Vuitton over 900 hours to create. 

What are your thoughts regarding the esports market?

It’s certainly booming. From Asia to the US, from Brazil to Russia, esports is global. Competitive gaming is so dynamic and new games pop up every month, attracting new players and new competitors. We have two great examples. Fortnite is already a social phenomenon after just two years, while the opening ceremony of the League of Legends World Championship pushes boundaries every year. It’s becoming as lauded as the Super Bowl.

"Esports is global, and it’s a real opportunity for Louis Vuitton to engage with Generations Z and Y"

Louis Vuitton has been in business for almost two centuries, while League of Legends has been around for just a decade. How did the brands work together to innovate?

Well, in their own way they are both vigorous creative forces. We might even say that Riot Games and Louis Vuitton share the same creative sensibility. Nicolas Ghesquière was on target when it came to designing in-game skins alongside Riot Games designers. For both, it was really a traditional creative process, except that the models were no longer human but rather playable characters.

The campaign between Louis Vuitton and Riot Games features unique skins and a capsule collection designed by Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of the Louis Vuitton women’s collection. How did you come up with this idea?

Players in League of Legends can pay for skins that personalize the appearance of their gaming character. Some skins are very rare and some are related to specific events. In any case, it’s all about fashion. It was crystal clear that Louis Vuitton would design in-game skins while, of course, taking into consideration the fact that fans are uncomfortable with the over-branding of their favorite games. In the end, Nicolas Ghesquière designed two skins.

Louis Vuitton has been involved in the design of trophy cases for other major sporting events, including Roland-Garros and the FIFA World Cup. How would you compare those opportunities with the League of Legends World Championship?

The League of Legends World Championship reaches a brand-new audience. Esports is global, and it’s a real opportunity for Louis Vuitton to engage with Generations Z and Y, which is largely represented in the demographically young Asian region. This collaboration will strengthen LV’s position as an innovative brand for years to come.

Next year, the World Championship returns to China—would it be something you think about as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with Riot Games?

It’s a big opportunity. China is the heart of the esports market. If the feedback from the first test setup for the French final is positive, Louis Vuitton could accelerate on the communication and commercial aspects of the partnership. Chinese actor Zhu Yilong was among Riot Games’ guests at Worlds 2019, and he sported a prototype t-shirt that will be part of the Louis Vuitton capsule collection inspired by the League of Legends universe, available in early 2020.

The League of Legends Championship was held earlier this month. What was it like to be involved in this and what was the reaction to the Louis Vuitton partnership?

What an amazing show it was! Havas Sports & Entertainment had the privilege to work on three different partnership activations during this weekend (AccorHotels, OPPO, and Louis Vuitton). We assume our clients were very happy with the show produced by Riot Games, and especially with the opening ceremony. Even though Europe lost in the end, we genuinely think that it was the perfect occasion to show non-endemic brands how big esports is.

On a personal note, I would say that being in charge of implementing partnership activations around esports with these iconic brands was kind of a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier right now.

Patricia Murphy is a content creator with a background in digital health and lifestyle journalism. She loves to chat and tell stories.

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