Monday, December 31, 2012

LV Goes Spotty

I have been marking MKT2024/BMB2206 Marketing Management exam scripts and l must admit to feeling disappointed with the quality of my students’ answers. They are often peppered with sweeping statements, ambigious assertions and generic gnomes that do not help me to award marks. And as a result, they will surely miss out getting good grades. Also, in spite of me telling my students the importance of wider reading – most of them still shy away from accessing and reading relevant material that can enhance their answers.

For example, this semester’s case study was on Louis Vuitton. There is lots of literature that students could avail themselves yet they were contented to produce answers that were mediocre, unremarkable and third-rate. I refer to LV simply because if they had searched hard enough, they would have learned about the Louis Vuitton collaboration with Yayoi Kusama (a Japanese artist often dubbed “the princess of polka dots”) which, apparently, was its most successful art union ever and which produced a limited edition collection of LV products (i.e. “Infinitely Kusama”) that included leather goods, ready-to-wear, accessories (e.g. scarves), shoes, sunglasses, watches and jewelry was reportedly well-received.

Additionally, the Kusama collection is not only available in all of Vuitton’s 463 boutiques, but LV even opened up seven Kusama-only pop-up stores for a period of four to eight weeks in different places: New York City (in their SoHo boutique), two department store locations in Europe: one inside the Printemps flagship in Paris and another one, measuring 1,375 square feet, in Selfridge’s in London, as well as four in Asia, i.e. one location each in Singapore (i.e. Ngee Ann City) and Hong Kong (i.e. Pacific Place) and two in Tokyo (i.e. Shinjuku branch of Isetan and Dover Street Market in Ginza).

Pop-up stores are devised to woo and seduce customers, a global audience that constantly craves new, unexpected and imaginative experiences. And big industry players like LV are embracing it wholeheartedly – the Kusama collaboration enables LV fans to immerse themselves in Yayoi Kusama’s unique dot-infused universe.

Printemps Haussmann, Women's Store, Lower Ground Floor. From August, 23rd to October, 20th, 2012. Image credit:

Selfridges. Image credit:

According to UK’s The Telegraph on September 07, 2012, to celebrate the repeated sell-outs, Selfridges had even winched a giant Yayoi into place above its front doors on London’s Oxford Street, just in case customers missed the Kusama-Vuitton products in its 24 windows!

Kusama sculptures in the windows of Selfridges. Image credit:

Louis Vuitton-Yayoi Kusama Concept Store at the Takashimaya Shopping Center, 02-12G Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore. Image credit:

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And talking about collaborations – sure, LV has had a history of collaborating with artists (e.g. Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince) to create displays and products, this is the first time it has opened a concept store dedicated to such a project.

If students have read about the above, they could have incorporated it in their answers – especially relevant for Section A, Question 2 – and earned good marks. I am ranting only because I realized it is not difficult to do well in my Marketing paper but very few students are up to the challenge.

LV’s experience with the pop-up store phenomenon is not new. In 2009, LV teamed up with Japanese retail brand Seibu, in opening a temporary outlet in Seibu’s gigantic Ikebukuro department store in Tokyo – The Louis Vuitton Underground, sporting a raw and industrial look and is completely different in terms of interior than other Vuitton spaces:


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