Remember when Balenciaga showcased its entire 2021 winter collection on its game called Afterworld: The Age Of Tomorrow? Fashion brands are quickly evolving to become metaverse-ready for the tech-savvy future consumers, the generation Z. Valentino and Marc Jacobs did so by collaborating with Nintendo where the game characters of “Animal Crossing: New Horizon” became the virtual models for the brands’ 2020 collection. Ralph Lauren and Gentle Monster are the recent brands to collaborate with a social networking site, Zepeto, to go beyond conventional marketing by embracing metaverse.
Zepeto is an advanced form of The Sims. It was created by the team that launched the Photo app, Snow. If you don’t remember The Sims, it’s a daily-life simulation game in a fictional city where you get to live a different life in a virtual world, making all kinds of decisions. Zepeto is similar with regards to a virtual world with immersive activities but is different in its approach to character development. In Zepeto, you can upload your photo or take a photo to turn yourself into an avatar, which you can later customize with a plethora of fashion items.
Zepeto allows you to interact with other strangers on the platform through chat rooms and games. And that’s not it. You can use the in-app currency to buy a whole range of clothing, furniture, and other virtual world items to enhance your virtual world within Zepeto. If you can’t buy these items with money, you can watch ads or participate in games to earn the Zepeto currency.
Zepeto was an instant hit when it first launched back in 2018. It faced a low retention rate in China at first but quickly made up with ZaiZai, the local version of the app.
With its partnership with big brands, Zepeto aims to amplify its presence in the social app market and enhance its longevity.
However, Zepeto is not the only beneficiary in these partnerships; big brands get to reach younger audiences through apps like Zepeto. Most of Zepeto’s user base is Gen Z, ages 6-24. This is the audience the big brands want to target.
Zepeto amassed around 150 million users within a very short span of two years. Most of these users are the younger generation. Zepeto; in fact, became so popular that many Twitter users changed their profile pictures to their Zepeto avatar. So far, Zapatos popularity lies with its unique virtual world and characters that keep younger minds engaged. Since it attracted so much attention, brands like Ralph Lauren, Gucci, and Gentle Monster saw the opportunity to get their brand names before the younger eyes, so they could become future customers.
The RL-Zepeto campaign features K-pop idols Tomorrow X Together for a 50-piece collection in a virtual world with real-life New York locations, including The RL Madison Avenue flagship store, The RL coffee shop, and Central Park. You can try on digital items and buy them with real money or through the in-app currency.
Similarly, the Zepeto-Gentle Monster campaign allows you to visit the Zepeto’s HAUS Dosan in their Zepeto avatar to experience the world of Nudake, Gentle Monster, and Tambourines.
Does This Mean More Fashion-Social App Collaborations?
Metaverse is still in its infancy, but it is quickly gaining momentum. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg announced to turn Facebook into a Metaverse project. So things are just getting warmed up, which means we can look forward to more collaborations between fashion brands and social networking apps.
Have you tried Ralph Lauren or Gentle Monster in Zepeto yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.