Sometimes, luxury brands can be in danger of isolating themselves from the real world. This isn’t always a bad thing – it’s the very fact that they are not everyday and ubiquitous that helps give them their distinction and demand.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t capitalise on opportunities to reach a wider audience where and when is appropriate. First and foremost, it has great customer acquisition potential. But also – when done well – can support their brand promise, creating distinct points of difference to both further their particular industry and stand out from competitors.

One of the best ways of doing this is to carefully align with an existing event. Now this isn’t just a case of slapping on a logo or releasing a YouTube video with a great soundtrack. Brands can often be guilty of thinking that these (often mundane) efforts reap far more than they sow. And it can be a particular pitfall for luxury brands, because nothing cheapens their hard-earned brand value, like looking and sounding the same as the everyday brands they work hard to be superior to. So any marketing activity should be carefully considered to adhere to the two golden rules:

1. Make sure the brand’s involvement relates to its own brand promise and
2. Add tangible value to the event.

Enter Louis Vuitton, real masters of this craft…

Now it’s no secret that we’re fans of their marketing. We’ve praised them on this blog before. And whilst their above-the-line marketing is easy to commend, their ability to successfully partner with a global event is equally admirable.

We’re talking, of course, about the Rugby World Cup. At first glance, not something one might readily associate with a luxury fashion and lifestyle brand. But watch the video below and you’ll see how they follow the two rules mentioned above.

Having the fifth generation Patrick-Louis Vuitton as spokesperson certainly lends gravitas to the affair, but this is a simple and effective way for Louis Vuitton to partner with the Rugby Football Association. It sticks to the core of what they do, making the world’s best luggage, and adds real value by actually transporting the Rugby World Cup (RWC) trophy to England for the tournament. Not exactly rocket science, but an intelligent and focused marketing exercise.

But, you’re thinking, perhaps rather modest in reach? How many people will really see this? Well, during the final match the trophy, in its Louis Vuitton trunk, will be on display at Twickenham for all to see – both as the teams walk on to the pitch and as it’s handed to the winning captain. The television cameras will broadcast the trunk’s iconic canvas monogram and brass locks to hundreds of millions of people. To put into context, the last RWC was watched by a cumulative audience of 3.9 billion people. And they are making concerted efforts to grow the sport in India, China and Africa – all significant emerging markets for luxury brands. The other day, 25 million Japanese fans tuned in to watch their rugby team play – clear evidence of unexpected pockets of rugby fans across the world!

And this isn’t a one-off for Louis Vuitton, but part of a calculated effort to align itself with the great sporting events across the world. In 2012 they made the trunk that now transports the Americas Cup (the world’s oldest sporting trophy) around the world and in 2014 their workshop in Asnières created the trunk for the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

So hats off to Louis Vuitton for this clever marketing activity. It helps them to stay current, relevant and to reach people whom they might not normally come into contact with.

We look forward to following the next stage of Louis Vuitton’s own journey.

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