Fashion icons are traditionally aloof and untouchable. What if our new supermodel could talk to every single fan? In order to complete communication objectives, we overcame technical application hurdles to launch the first case of live-streaming real-time interactions between an ultra-realistic digital idol and real people in a virtual space in China.
In 2022, Tommy Hilfiger launched a new design collection – Tommy Hilfiger Monogram Collection. With this launch, they hoped to increase brand awareness/build brand equity and attract more consumers – particularly aiming to increase sales conversion among a younger generation.
However, the challenges we face in China are enormous. The market is cluttered with competitors, with staggering investment levels, while the attention of young consumers is increasingly fragmented.
We needed to reintroduce TH for this younger generation in a way that broke through the clutter and swept away fashion clichés, so that our target audience couldn’t help but take notice.
As the new digital generation, young consumers are more focused on themselves, and want to instantly meet their needs. Online shopping and the “see now, buy now” phenomenon without the need for leaving the home have become popular consumption trends for young consumers.
Virtual influencers or ‘VIs’ have become hugely popular in China, with marketing experts suggesting that consumers in China and neighbouring markets are far more open to engaging with virtual influencers than most. Many luxury and fashion brands have already appointed VIs as brand ambassadors in the region.
But TH wanted to go further and create a something that the “see now, buy now” generation could connect with, thinking about what fashion fans wanted, instead of just how to sell the collection.
In May 2022, Alibaba, the Chinese tech & e-commerce giant, unveiled the first “user-customised” (based on 21k internet users voted-for preferences) VI “Noah”. He was hugely popular and amassed over 400,000 followers on China’s largest microblogging site ‘Weibo’. Noah fits the TH band perfectly, both in terms of image and platform attributes, so we approached Alibaba to enlist him as the brand’s newest “future experience officer.”
As the future experience officer, Noah wore the new collection in the TH metaverse space for the opening of NY fashion week and conducted publicity events and interaction for TH on social media.
But we wanted to go even further, other brands were already debuting VIs in their campaigns – so how could Noah go beyond what was already becoming a norm in the region? We would let his fans get closer than ever.
After extensive planning and negotiations with Alibaba, on the day of the TH new collection launch in China, Noah conducted an interactive livestream in TH’s e-commerce channel virtual pop-up store. In this livestream, we overcame the technical hurdles and Noah become the first ever metahuman influencer to appear in a livestream with real people. This brought him closer to fans that ever before, while simultaneously closing the purchase loop and ensuring great sales results.
Positively provoking brand fame
Noah blew up Tommy Hilfiger’s presence on multiple platforms. He was featured in the TikTok feeds for the New York Fashion Show, bringing 5.35M impressions to the fashion show, over 64K audience engagements during the live show. On Tmall, we pioneered the first instance of live-streaming ultra-realistic digital idols interacting with real people in virtual space getting 670k impression within one hour, No.1 on the hourly top list of menswear brands.
Positively provoking sales
Tommy Hilfiger E-commerce flagship store sales in the live-streaming room increased by 288% on the day of the virtual-person live-streaming event compared to an average day and more than 720% sales growth on Big Day. The campaign also led to TH’s ecommerce consumer base membership increases of 661% and the number of core consumers increased by 3 million, an increase of more than 300%.