In case you haven’t heard, Louis Vuitton is doing something really weird this year. For it’s spring 2016 advertising campaign, they’ll be using a fictional character from a video game to model their clothing, accessories, and products. Yes, you did, in fact, read that correctly: Louis Vuitton is using a video game character in their newest ad campaign.
The Final Fantasy series
They choose just any video game franchise, though. The fact that they chose Final Fantasy as the series to choose their model from shows how tasteful Louis Vuitton has been in its admittedly weird decision to use video gaming as an advertising technique. Final Fantasy is one of the most acclaimed and celebrated video game series of all time: nearly all of the main entries in the series (which number up to 14, currently) have received rave reviews and critical acclaim from multiple publications.
It also helps that Square-Enix, the company that makes the Final Fantasy games, spends millions of dollars creating state-of-the-art graphics for each installment of its series – Louis Vuitton has chosen one of the most lifelike video game characters ever to do their modeling.
The name of that character is Lightning, and she was conceived of for the Final Fantasy 13 trilogy of games. Lightning is a pink-haired badass who saves the world over and over again in her video game series. Hopefully she’ll be able to capture the hearts and dollars of consumers around the world – if not, Louis Vuitton is going to look awfully silly using the character for their ad campaign. But, if she’s successful, Lightning might lead video games into a whole new era of additional cash flow and visibility.
Michael Phelps is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time in any sport ever. His name will go down in history as one of the greatest competitors ever. But just four years ago, his reputation was put in danger by an anonymous leak of photos taken during the Olympics in 2012.
Famous photographer shoots Phelps for Louis Vuitton
The photos were taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz, an American known for her work with Rolling Stone magazine, and for shooting such legendary individuals as John Lennon and Mick Jagger. She shot photos of Phelps including one of him wearing his swimsuit in a bathtub with a Louis Vuitton bag containing his clothing next to the tub, as well as one of Phelps wearing Louis Vuitton shoes and clothing while sitting on a couch talking to Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina, the competitor whose record for most Olympic medals Phelps broke, with Louis Vuitton bags around them.
Breaking sponsorship rules
The trouble started when these photos were leaked in August 2012. According to the International Olympic Committee’s Rule 40, participating athletes aren’t allowed to promote the products of any non-Olympic sponsors for several weeks in July and August. The punishments for breaking this rule range from hefty to fines to the stripping of medals.
Luckily for Phelps and LV, the Committee believed that neither Phelps nor LV released the photos, and that they were leaked anonymously. If they hadn’t, we might be talking about how Phelps came so close to making history and failed because of a poor business transaction!
Have you heard the one about the monk with Louis Vuitton luggage? You’re right, it does sound like the punchline of a joke – but it’s actually not. Just a few years ago, a monk caused a huge scandal after he was caught at an airport getting onto a private jet wearing Aviator sunglasses and toting a Louis Vuitton luggage bag!
Thai people outraged by runaway monk
To understand why this monk caused so much outrage, you must understand a little bit about Thailand. The Thai people are overwhelming Buddhist, and take monasticism very, very seriously. When people dedicate themselves to the Buddha, they become monks, swearing off lives of luxury. They are expected to be celibate and to give up common luxuries like traveling via private jet, Aviator sunglasses, and Louis Vuitton handbags.
It’s in this context that the monk in question caused such an uproar.
Luxurious living implicates criminal lifestyle
After further investigation, it was discovered that this monk, 33-year-old Wirapol Sukphol, was involved in a number of crimes, which resulted in his cumulated assets of somewhere near $32 million. In order to achieve his luxurious lifestyle, he tricked hundreds of wealthy patrons into believing that he had supernatural powers, including the abilities to fly and walk on water. These followers funded several “projects,” like the construction of a solid-jade, 36-foot high Buddha that was really made of concrete.
Sukphol has been said to be an extreme example of a larger crisis occuring in Buddhism, caused by a shortage of monks and a growing secular population.
Although Lous Vuitton luggage and bags are ostensibly gender neutral – their main colors being brown and beige, colors that aren’t inherently associated with any gender; their main focus being utility, rather than accessories; and their excellent craftsmanship making them coveted by all – their other products are often associated with women only. It makes sense, since bags are their main business and they make many handbags and purses for women.
LV is for men, too
It shocks me, nevertheless, that more men don’t know that Louis Vuitton makes many bags, scarves, belts, and other accessories for them, too. In fact, LV products for men can help amp your style so much more than a variety of other brands, simply because of their high quality and value. Let’s take a look at some of their products.
Bags aren’t just for ladies
One of my favorite products to advocate for are men’s bags. I know, I know – it seems like it might compromise some part of your masculinity, but don’t let that fear stop you from obtaining a high-quality, incredibly useful bag like the Josh. The Josh is a shoulder bag that comes in classic beige and brown or the more elegant blue and black. It’s great for active men, and of course it’s beautifully put together.
I also love the District PM, a messenger back that comes only in black with the classic checkerboard pattern. If you’re nervous about wearing a bag as a man, a messenger back is the perfect place to start because it’s all about utility without drawing attention to itself.
Louis Vuitton bags are one-of-a-kind accessories that don’t really need a lot extra. They stand out all on their own, by virtue of being so expensive that very few people have them, by having exquisite craftsmanship, and their distinctive patterning. No one is every going to mistake a Louis Vuitton bag for anything other than a Louis Vuitton bag (though you do always have to be vigilant of knockoffs: although they’re easy to spot, some people don’t know what to look for and have a harder time recognizing them). However, sometimes it is nice to add a little flair to your bag, and today we’re going to show you how to do that.
Adding a little flair with a scarf
Now, the best way, we think, to accessorize your LV bag is to use a scarf. You can’t use just any scarf, though, God – you need to make sure that you use another LV product. We recommend something with a color that will complement LV brown and beige, like pink or red – or, if you’re a man, blue or black. Of course there are other ways you can go about accessorizing, I just don’t think any other way is as good as using a scarf. You want to use a light touch, with LV products, and I think a scarf gives you that.
Do it right
When you go to tie your scarf to your bag, be mindful of utility – don’t tie the handles closed or something silly like that. And stay away from bows, they look tacky.
We were talking just the other day about Louis Vuitton’s claims that their bags are all handmade, and how handmade has come to include sewing machines (or at least according to Louis Vuitton… we’re still skeptical). However, there’s no denying that the Louis Vuitton brand has built its power and prestige by producing the highest quality products. Because of that, they are often imitated, putting consumer at risk for purchasing counterfeit products if they’re not careful or don’t know what they’re looking for. Today, we’re going to talk about what to look for when buying LV products.
Several things to look for
Many Louis Vuitton products use coated canvas, but even these often have real leather trim. One of the things to look for is that any leather on the product is dry, not oily, slippery, or sticky, which can indicate a fake that hasn’t been treated correctly.
Another thing to look for is the stitching. It should be perfect. You’ll never see a new LV product with bad stitching – it’s an instand give away that the product you’re looking at is a counterfeit. It shouldn’t be sloppy, either – back-and-forth stitching is an indicator that it’s a fake.
Check the pattern. Louis Vuitton’s logo is one of the most valuable in the world – it would never deface it’s own logo with a seam, so if the seam splits the letters of the logo, you’re likely looking at a fake. Examine the color of the lining, as well – it shouldn’t be an approximation of the color it’s supposed to be.
One of the things Louis Vuitton is most known for is its handmade bags. It makes a big deal about the quality of its bags – it’s signature products, which it has been making nearly 160 years, give or take. So when the company came under fire for misleading the public, we were immediately interested in what all the fuss was about.
Advertisement romanticize and over-sell
The main complaint seems to be about a set of ads the company rolled out in 2010 which hit home the handmade selling points. The ads featured women – who, we came to find out, were models, not real seamstresses – using needles and thread to stitch the handle onto a bag, as well as another where a woman was working on putting the folds into a wallet.
These ads were accompanied by text which insinuated that each bag and wallet has handstitched: “A needle, linen thread, beeswax and infinite patience protect each overstitch from humidity and the passage of time… With so much attention lavished on every one, should we only call them details?”
Not providing the whole picture
When a consumer watchdog confronted the company about these ads and the fact that many Louis Vuitton products are in fact produced with sewing machines and are not handstitched, the company said that in the 21st century, anyone who hears that something is handmade would understand that sewing machines were part of the process. While we don’t necessarily agree with that stance, we do think that Louis Vuitton bags are of the highesy quality… however they’re made.
It’s no secret that the Louis Vuitton brand is one of the most lucrative, powerful, and influential brands in the world – no matter where you look, you’ll find LV, whether you’re watching an awards show, looking in the fashion mags or blogs, or talking about the best business and marketing strategies employed by powerful companies. The brand is one of the most coveted and respected in the world. But do you know just how important the brand is?
Six years as the world’s most powerful brand
For six years in a row, from 2006 – 2012, Louis Vuitton was ranked as the most powerful brand of the ten most powerful brands in the world, according to a list published my the Millward Brown Optimor’s 2011 BrandZ study. They valued the company at $24.3 billion, though that number dropped to $19 billion according to the same company in 2010. In 2010, it was ranked as the 29th most valuable brand, between Gillette and Wells Fargo.
Because it is seen as such a status symbol in cultures around the world, Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited labels in the world. In fact, in the European Union, LV counterfeits were responsible for approximately 18% of all counterfeit accessories apprehended! If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Louis Vuitton should be downright blushing. The most ironic part of this, of course, is that the signature monogram that the company developed in the late 1800s and still uses today was designed to prevent counterfeiting!
I love talking about Louis Vuitton not only because of it’s amazing sense of style and incredible influence on the world of fashion, but also because it’s so old and has such a long and interesting history. But that history isn’t all sunshine and rainbows: as with so many of the oldest companies in the world, Louis Vuitton’s history has a dark side – and it has to do with Nazi-occupied France.
Louis Vuitton gets wealthier from occupiers
According to some sources, Louis Vuitton collaborated with the Nazis who occupied France during World War II, amassing sizable wealth from their business affairs with the Germans. In fact, it is said that the family set up a factory dedicated to producing propoganda, like the statue above – a bust of Philippe Petain, the head of the puppet government installed in France by the Germans.
LVHM moves past contentious history
Although the company remained silent about its involvement or not with the Germans during World War II, it’s holding company, LVHM, came out with a response in which they did not deny the facts, but indicated that journalists silence on the topic indicated that people had moved on. We tend to agree – though LVHM is the country’s biggest advertiser in the press, we believe it’s simply a topic people would rather not discuss anymore, for better or worse. It’s always good to pause and think about the histories of the companies in operation today and how they got so wealthy, whether we’ve moved past those histories or not.
Given how many different products it makes now, it’s amazing to think that Louis Vuitton started out as a company that was strictly focused on making innovative luggage. But that’s how the company began, and today we’ll chart how the company grew it’s market by introducing new products to its consumers and building more bricks and mortar stores from which to sell these new products.
Expanding to new segments and markets
After the death of Louis Vuitton Malletier, the founder of Louis Vuitton, his son, Georges, decided to take his father’s luggage to Chicago’s world fair the next year in 1893. This expanded the company’s global presence, introducing them to new, foreign audiences.
By 1896, the company was launching a brand new product, the Monogram Canvas (which many of us will recognize – it’s a product that, though it’s evolved throughout the years – has been around for 120 years!). The graphic symbols on this bag, which included Japanese and Oriental designs, a common practice in Victorian England, were very popular. Georges got the patents for these bags around the world.
Coming to America
With the patents for his new bag in place, Georges traveled throughout the United Syayes, to New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, selling them and his father’s products. In 1901 Louis Vuitton introduced the Steamer Bag, a smaller piece of luggage that was meant to go inside other Louis Vuitton luggage trunks. The company expanded throughout the early 1900s, eventually opening stores in New York, Bombay, Washington, London, Buenos Aires, and Alexandria.