Gucci has been at the forefront of adopting emerging technologies on Web3, such as Augmented Reality and NFTs drops in the Metaverse, to attract the next generation of customers with high influencing powers i.e. Gen Z. Making Gen Z a priority and trying to understand their needs has made off for Gucci as 55% of their sales came from audiences aged under 35.
From 2021, the brand has been routinely involved in offering unique customer experiences through exclusive digital collections and has even hosted virtual fashion shows in the metaverse. Infact, in an interview with Vogue Business, François-Henri Pinault, President of Gucci’s parent company, Kerring, revealed that they have a team fully dedicated to building the presence of Gucci in web3 and the metaverse. He outlined 3 key strategies for Kerring in the Metaverse, including offering NFTs connected to tangible or virtual products, and utilizing smart contracts to gain earnings from secondary sales.
Gucci has been creating immersive experiences for its customers by integrating 3D tech into its app as well as in partnering apps like Roblox. It is the first luxury fashion brand to create multiple experiences on Roblox and utilize the platform for its immersive 3D social channel, building and creating a community it can engage all year long.
Gucci Sneaker Garage
In June 2019, Gucci added an AR feature to its app that let users virtually try on the Ace Sneakers by pointing their phone’s camera to their feet and thus, getting a realistic visual of the shoe on themselves.
In 2020, it introduced a new section on the app called Gucci Sneaker Garage wherein users could customize and design their own shoe based on existing models. Gucci’s first digital sneakers “Gucci Virtual 25”, designed by creative director Alessandro Michele, were also launched and could be tried on with virtual avatars in AR or digital-based environments.
Synonymous with the opening of Gucci Garden Archetypes – an immersive multimedia experience in Florence, Italy to celebrate 100 years of the brand and Alessandro Michele‘s creative vision- a virtual Gucci Garden was released online on Roblox in May 2021 for a span of 2 weeks. The digital replica was divided into multiple themed rooms, each paying homage to a different era of Michele’s six year reign over the House, like a pool room reflecting the festive nature of Gucci’s 2020 Cruise Collection.
As the user’s neutral avatar explored the miniverse, it would “absorb” parts of the archetypes and retain some fragments from each space across their mannequins. In the end, they would emerge as one of a kind Gucci creation and signify the uniqueness of each person in real life.
“Brands can push the boundaries of creativity in the metaverse and offer experiences that are unrepeatable in real life, rather than simply replicating spaces and experiences from the physical world,” Roblox’s vice president of brand partnerships Christina Wootton said in an interview. The miniverse was definitely a success and saw more than 20M visitors in just 2 weeks.
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Riding on the success of Gucci Garden, the brand launched a virtual piazza, Gucci Town, in the landscape of Roblox in May 2022. The permanent space in the metaverse resonated with the brand’s ethos reflecting the creative vision of director Alessandro Michele. In discussing whom they are aiming Gucci Town toward, Nicolas Oudinot of Gucci Vault said, “It is a place to reunite with like-minded individuals sharing a passion for self-expression, and to set up open dialogues between them and Gucci”.
The space featured a central garden which connected various different sections, including a mini-games zone, a cafe to foster community engagement, and a digital store where users could buy virtual Gucci items for their Roblox avatars. They could also create compositions of their own and view Gucci’s latest collections in the metaverse. Celebrity collaborations with Miley Crush and Jack Grealish in Gucci’s miniverse added to its success and the town has drawn over 40.6 M visitors to date.
In September 2023, Gucci Town was rebranded to Gucci Ancora and redesigned to showcase a meta-version of the show’s IRL location in Milan’s creative Brera district. One of the interactive rooms features transformative artwork, leading to tasks that offer hidden treasures and portals upon completion.
Gucci Vault Land
Gucci also became the first luxury brand to create its own space within the digital real estate platform, SandBox. Termed as Gucci Vault, the interactive experiential store was launched with the aim to educate the Web3 community on Gucci’s heritage via gamification. It showcased a carefully curated selection of rare Gucci pieces, the conversations between the House’s creators and NFT artworks. The Vault was made available to everyone for 2 weeks and Gamers could explore the space with a 360° view via a learn-as-you-play storyline and engage in tasks for an opportunity to secure exclusive rewards and SAND—the in-game currency of The Sandbox, based on the Ethereum blockchain.
When asked what excites Gucci about the metaverse, Oudinot told, “As the metaverse continues to be defined and despite the different meanings that the concept has, we all agree it is a medium making our online interactions more varied, customized and immersive. In a digital environment based on users’ co-presence, there’s a wellspring of opportunities for those sharing our mind-set, as aesthetic is crucial for individuals to create their digital persona, reflecting their taste, their ambitions and their visual horizons far beyond the limitation of the physical world.”
Keeping in line with this thought process, Gucci has released multiple NFT collections in collaboration with famous Web3 Platform.
Gucci’s debut NFT in May 2021 was a film inspired by its Aria (Fall/Winter 2021) Collection and incorporated the creative director, Alessandro Michele’s runaway presentation in a 4 minute clip. Titled “PROOF OF SOVEREIGNTY: A Curated NFT Sale by Lady PheOnix”, the online sale was held by Christie’s and the bidding started at $20,000 USD. It was ultimately sold for $25000 USD and the proceeds donated to UNICEF USA to support global access to Covid-19 vaccines.
The NFT is formatted as a three-channel video playing on a loop and carries a message of “universal desire for renewal; a yearning to bloom and flourish after the shadow of winter has passed.”
In February 2022, Gucci teamed up with SUPERPLASTIC (a limited edition vinyl toy and digital collectable company) to launch a ‘SuperGucci’ NFT collection. This drop is a blend of Gucci’s timeless designs and 2 of Superplastic favorites, Janky and Guggimon and got them over $10M in sales. The collection of 250 NFTs was released in 3 batches, with the first drop in February and the last one in August 2022. To add further to this mix of modern tech and classics, each NFT came paired with a physical 8-inch tall ceramic sculpture handcrafted by Italian artisans.
The next project, in collaboration with 10KTF, focused more on the Web3 insider community; only owners of select collections (BAYC, Cool Cats etc.), SUPERGUCCI NFT holders, and 10KTF shop members were able to participate in this campaign. Digital artist, Wagmi-san, created the PFPs for these 11 collections – NFT versions of profile pictures that allow collectors to use as their portraits. These PFPs featured 2 custom Gucci designs and considering Gucci’s existing involvement in NFTs, was a progressive step towards personalized virtual garments. Members of the Gucci Vault community on Discord, existing PFP owners, and those affiliated with Wagmi-san’s New Tokyo were offered an exclusive opportunity to exchange their crystal ball tokens for these customizable Gucci avatars. This limited offer ensured Gucci’s signature exclusivity is maintained even in the digital realm. The NFTs were minted at 1 ETH and generated 4,253 ETH in sales for Gucci.
Vault Art Space
In June 2022, An experimental online art gallery, The Vault Art Space was launched in partnership with SuperRare, a digital art marketplace based on the Ethereum blockchain. This virtual space had a regular rotation of exhibitions, each of which was an immersive whirlwind of creation. “The Next 100 Years of Gucci ” marked the initial exhibition, where 29 artists unveiled NFT pieces, each embodying a fragment of Gucci’s century-long legacy while envisioning its future. This collaboration also signified Gucci’s debut into the realm of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) and granted them administrative authorities within the SuperRare community.
Gucci Materials NFTs
The Gucci Vault Material NFT was a reward for players for participating in a 10KTF mission in Battle Town. They needed a Gucci Grail NFT to enter, and participants were then airdropped the NFT. In July 2023, Gucci went one step ahead and bridged the gap between the digital rewards and the physical product. Owners of the 2,896 Gucci Material NFTs could swap their tokens for either a classic Gucci bifold wallet or a co-branded Gucci x 10KTF duffle bag. They could also choose to sell their Material NFTs to people interested in acquiring these physical items. A single Gucci Vault Material NFT could be exchanged for the wallet, whereas the duffle required three tokens.
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