London: In an unusual marketing move for a fashion and luxury goods brand, Louis Vuitton said on Tuesday that it planned to advertise on TV for the first time, with a travel-themed 90-second spot that was shot in France, Spain, India and Japan.
The campaign, which will start on 15 February, will run on cable and satellite TV channels and in movie theatres around the world, the company said. It shows ordinary people, rather than celebrities such as Catherine Deneuve, Andre Agassi and Mikhail Gorbachev, who are featured in a current print campaign for the label.
Louis Vuitton, a unit of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, described the advertisement as “the first ever on-screen corporate campaign by a luxury house.”
High-end fashion brands and luxury goods companies have generally avoided TV advertising, sticking mostly to magazines and, in some cases, newspapers. TV advertising can be expensive, and many luxury goods companies, particularly European family-owned concerns, have operated on relatively small advertising budgets. (The holding company LVMH, based in Paris, is not family-owned.) Also, image-conscious fashion brands have been wary about undermining their aura of exclusivity with appeals to mass-market television audiences.
An exception is Chanel, which made a splash about three years ago with a two- minute TV ad for Chanel No. 5 perfume. Starring Nicole Kidman, it reportedly cost more than $30 million (Rs118 crore) to make.
The Louis Vuitton ad aims to promote the brand itself, rather than a specific product. A Louis Vuitton bag makes only a fleeting appearance in the ad, which asks: “Where will life take you?”
“It is supposed to touch our clientele and viewers in ways that perhaps other media will not touch,” said Pietro Beccari, Louis Vuitton’s head of marketing. “This is a way to say Louis Vuitton is different. It is something ephemera but also something that stays.”
Beccari said the ad would be particularly useful in reaching new audiences in fast growing markets such as China, where the image of Louis Vuitton may be less established than in Western countries.
Like impulse buyers in a Louis Vuitton boutique, Beccari and Yves Carcelle, the chief executive of Louis Vuitton, did not hesitate in deciding to use TV ads. A proposal put together by the ad agency Ogilvy and Mather, part of the WPP Group, showed a collage of moody still images from a variety of films, Beccari said, and it struck the right tone for the brand, which has been trying to focus on its travel heritage after several years of glitzier marketing for the fashion line.
©2008/THE NEW YORK TIMES