Two internationally renowned brands unite to prove real-world and digital cross-over experiences are more than just a fashionable trend.
These days, it takes something pretty extraordinary to catch people’s attention – especially when you’re aiming to do a billboard placement in London’s, New York’s, Tokyo’s, or Seoul’s sea of flashing neon lights, let alone all four. But when you’re combining the boundary-pushing legacy of luxury Spanish fashion house, Balenciaga, and the online gaming phenomenon that is Fortnite, you’ve got the right ingredients to not only do just that, but perhaps even help pave the way for the next big step in the cross-over experiences (r)evolution.
On paper, the Fortnite/Balenciaga partnership seems simple. Balenciaga launched a fashion collection both in the real world, and in the virtual world by using the beloved Fornite avatar, Doggo, as a model. But it’s the use of 3D (or deep-screen) billboards, and the overall media strategy that gave the launch another dimension.
Fast taking the world of out-of-home (OOH) advertising by storm, these billboards are strategically placed and designed to use the surrounding architecture to give an added illusion of depth and realism. In other words, when viewed from the right angle, it tricks passersby into thinking the images displayed are “real” and part of the physical building, making them immediately stand out from anything that surrounds. Take a look:
Sure, it’s not exactly a brand new technique. Things like projection mapping certainly spring to mind. But there are a few things that mark these billboards as being a major leap in the (real and digital) world of big and bold advertising.
Firstly, the real billboards didn’t simply display a pre-rendered animated video. It was done “live”. By leveraging the real-time raytracing capabilities of Unreal Engine, lighting information was fed into the renderer, allowing the animation to include ultra-realistic shadows and lighting that matched the environment. For example, if it were a cloudy day, the lighting and shadows would be soft, making the whole viewing experience more immersive.
Speaking of immersive, this brings us to the second point. In the game, the exact same billboard placement strategy was used to capture the imagination of players. Doggo adorned the exact same Balenciaga attire within Fortnite’s virtual cities, and players could buy the merch to skin their own character. And, if you happened to buy the same items of clothing in real life, you’d automatically get a code to unlock them virtually within Fortnite.
As far as cross-over brand experiences go, this is genius. Your traditional audience is blown away by a truly immersive back-to-the-future-esque 3D billboard, while the younger crowd sees their beloved virtual world and characters echoed and relevant in the real world, playing right into the psychology of social gaming – it’s all an extension of yourself.
As technology and gaming become more and more immersive, more people will spend more time within virtual worlds. And so, the virtual self will become just as important to the real self, and spending real money on things like virtual luxury clothing brands will make more sense. Did you get that…?
Wrapping things up…
And so, the question is no longer if, or even when, you should consider bridging the digital and real-world divide. But rather, how do you do it in a way that is most relevant to who and what your brand is. Hit us up and we’ll help make it happen.