In today’s fast-paced world, luxury brands are constantly searching for new ways to reach millennials. According to a study by Bain & Co. as cited by a Forbes article, by 2025, millennials will account for 45% of the global personal luxury goods market. Apart from keeping up with the latest in digital and tech, luxury groups are also zoning in on the cultural trends of Generation Y, such as street art.
TAG Heuer caught on early, with its already-established reputation in creating disruption and exploring cutting-edge marketing strategies. The Swiss luxury watch mogul announced its partnership last year with Alec Monopoly, a popular American graffiti artist known for his edgy visions and trademark spray paint can. Since then, we have seen the 31-year-old use TAG Heuer as his canvass in a bid to amplify the brand’s culture and attract younger consumers. Most recently, word is that he has been assigned to design the dials for one of their limited edition watches, as revealed in an interview in the South China Morning Post.
For TAG Heuer, Monopoly is their artistic medium in getting the message across about the contemporary lifestyle they want to be associated with, as well as their channel to engaging with millennials in an innovative fashion. Monopoly is very popular amongst young Americans. He is extremely active on Snapchat and boasts 575k followers on Instagram.
Gucci and Coco Capitán
This year, we saw another luxury brand team up with a street artist, Coco Capitán. For Gucci's 2017 Fall/Winter collection, creative director Alessandro Michele hired the Spanish artist and photographer to contribute to the fashion show by allowing her to scribble on some of the pieces with graffiti-style text art that embodies her artistic vision.
The authentic aspect to endorsing Capitán to design, or more accurately, to deface the pieces lies in the fact that Michele’s visions themselves correlate with hers. When he took over as creative director in 2015, he shook the brand out of its polished persona and reinvented it entirely with a younger look. With Capitán’s catchy captions splayed across the Gucci name, the younger generations are sure to take notice. Michele’s aim is to make Gucci the fashion brand of the millennials, as explained by Piero Braga, President and CEO of Gucci Timepieces in an interview published by Europa Star.
Image credit: Gucci
Richard Mille and Cyril Kongo
Luxury Swiss watch brand, Richard Mille, joined forces in 2016 with Cyril Kongo, a street artist specialising in the urban art trend of spray-painting large and colourful letters on an array of unconventional surfaces. Kongo was commissioned to apply his art to 30 individual limited edition RM 68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo watches using micro spray-painting tools. Each one is unique, and a true exemplar of pure craftsmanship. Kongo represents the universal language of graffiti, a dialect supported by the typical urban millennial.
Image credit: Richard Mille
If luxury groups team up with street artists to harness a community of millennials, it needs to be done from a genuine standpoint. There needs to be a true connection between the art pieces and the values that the brand upholds. After all, millennials are reputed for their adherence to authenticity. Endorsing renowned street artists could be a beneficial way for brands to expand their own influence over the future generations of luxury consumers.
Cover image credit: TAG Heuer