January 2, 2013
French fashion house Louis Vuitton is playfully pushing its spring/summer 2013 line by using paper doll cutouts that consumers can print off and style from the brand’s Web site.
The clothing for the dolls comes from Louis Vuitton’s Ready-to-Wear Icons and the Spring/Summer 2013 Collection that was picked from stylist Kim Hersov. The paper dolls present a playful means to show off new collections, but may not be the way to target affluent consumers, experts said.
“Louis Vuitton may simply view this as an enticing way to attract attention for its line without actually expecting people to use the cutouts,” said Ron Kurtz, president of American Affluence Research Center, Atlanta.
“Innovation is always good if it is done in a practical, relevant and tasteful manner,” he said. “With the growth in mobile and social communications, there is pressure on marketers to find ways to stand out and engage the target market.
“Sometimes that pressure can lead to approaches that are more novel or creative than effective.”
Mr. Kurtz is not affiliated with Louis Vuitton, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Louis Vuitton did not respond by press deadline.
The four paper dolls created by Australian fashion illustrator Kerrie Hess come with samples of Louis Vuitton Ready-to-Wear items and Spring/Summer 2013 collection items.
The paper dolls are available for download as a PDF on the Louis Vuitton Web site.
The dolls come with classic Louis Vuitton looks and handbags. Another page offers the Cruise Collection and Ready-to-Wear items.
Paper doll clothes
The brand also promoted this in a video with Kim Hersov presenting the styled looks in real life and on the brand’s Facebook.
The video is available on the brand's Web site.
Facebook promotion for paper dolls
Although the dolls look like a toy for children, a child’s toy is probably not what the brand meant to create.
“Louis Vuitton’s cut-outs are child’s play created to remind us of our innocent youth, long before excessive taxes, recessions and financial cliffs,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami.
“Louis Vuitton is in a league of its own,” he said. “Few brands can successfully execute this program.”
Coming out of the crowded holiday season, luxury marketers need to find a way to stand out in the crowd.
However, the time and engagement spent creating outfits for these paper dolls may not work in Louis Vuitton’s favor since printing and styling the dolls takes time.
“The required full engagement in this promotion borders arrogance,” Mr. Ramey said.
Recently Louis Vuitton has taken to other creative means to promote its products.
During the holiday season the brand engaged consumers in a digital holiday experience on its Web site that centered on symbols of luck and encourages users to create their own gift wish list.
The “Share Your Luck” campaign allowed users spin a wheel of fortune and view gift items that correspond to each wheel spoke (see story).
With the paper doll campaign, Louis Vuitton may not expect its consumers to actually make use of the dolls.
“This is a novel and creative approach to introduce a new line, but it does not seem very practical given the relative lack of detail for the colors and patterns,” Mr. Kurtz said.
“While this may appear to be a way to engage its prospective buyers, it seems like most of their true prospective buyers will consider this to be more of an inconvenience with little worthwhile result,” he said.
“It may arouse the curiosity of its target market and thus encourage them to seek more information.”
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York