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Ralph Lauren x Fortnite: Are video games and metaverse platforms the future of fashion?

Industry Commentary
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Ralph Lauren 

It’s not unusual for well-established companies to make changes to their logos and branding. This is usually done every five years to reflect business changes while remaining relevant to wider trends, but Ralph Lauren hasn’t made a single change to its iconic Polo Pony logo since the company’s inception in 1974. Until now, that is, and it’s all because of the company’s recent partnership with the video game, Fortnite. 

The press release announcing the news says the redesign is “testament to the company’s belief in the power of the metaverse.” Whether you agree or disagree with Fortnite being called a metaverse platform, Epic Games has been making a concentrated push to position Fortnite as a massive social platform and creative hub, rather than just being a video game. 

With 400 million registered users worldwide and growing support for user-generated content, Fortnite is perfectly positioned to help global brands reach a massive Gen Z audience who will undoubtedly make up the biggest population of Metaverse users when the time comes. This logo redesign and collaboration by Ralph Lauren is essentially the brand telling gamers (and potential future collaborators): ‘We’re here and we’re here to stay.’

There are so many fashion and lifestyle brands licensing IP into video games and metaverse platforms that it’s becoming hard to keep up with. If luxury fashion brands aren’t hitting the digital catwalk at Metaverse Fashion Week, they’re selling virtual items in Roblox and Fortnite or partnering with video game companies to push their products, whether that’s Tiffany & Co. designing the League of Legends World Championship Trophy or Burberry’s latest partnership with Minecraft

Ralph Lauren  

So, while Ralph Lauren isn’t exactly breaking new ground with its Fortnite collaboration, the fact that a brand with a company logo this timeless is moving into games is pretty remarkable. This collaboration is also a great example of how to properly execute a campaign so both brands benefit, with Ralph Lauren’s horse being swapped out in perfect style for the llama from Fortnite – one of the game’s most recognisable characters. 

In addition to the launch of a physical capsule collection featuring Fortnite imagery printed on Ralph Lauren attire, the collaboration introduced two bundles of digital cosmetic items into the game. The total cost for both bundles is over 3500 V-Bucks (in-game currency), the equivalent of around $25, although the prizes could be won by players that earned enough points in the Polo Stadium Cup (a special solo tournament). 

Fortnite and Ralph Lauren aren’t two brands that you’d normally associate with each other, but you could say the same thing about Balenciaga and Fortnite or Louis Vuitton and Final Fantasy. The key to success for collaborations such as these is putting enough time and effort into the concept and activation to make sure they’re authentic to your core target audience, in this case, gamers. 

We’d wager good money that a lot of Fortnite players who weren’t previously aware of Ralph Lauren now have a positive impression of the brand because of this collaboration, and Ralph Lauren’s decision to update its timeless logo with Fortnite imagery definitely won the brand some major gaming points.

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