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  Gucci
Gucci
Putting the App in Apparel
by Mark J. Miller
November 11, 2010

You can be sure not everybody in the more than 2.1 million people who “like” Gucci’s Facebook page actually own a Gucci product, but that’s OK. Digital has allowed the Italian fashion company to reach the teeming masses yearning to wear leather in whole new ways.
 
Founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci (which explains the interlocking Gs of the company’s logo), the company’s name has long been synonymous with high-end luxury. Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Jacqueline Onassis all wore Gucci, which produces all manner of clothing for men and women (and even children as of the summer of 2010) as well as eyewear, perfume, wallets, and other accessories.

Like a thick fashion magazine of yesteryear, the digital offerings of Gucci are pure inspirational confections. Some of those 2.1 million fans of the Facebook page may own something actually made by Gucci, but it’s a pretty safe bet that most of them are happy to page through the company’s gorgeous images and videos to vicariously enjoy the feel a beautiful Italian design.

FACEBOOK: SHARING THE “LOOK BOOK”

Gucci’s Facebook page gives the company a place to showcase stacks of photos of Gucci products (there were 46 photo albums here at last counting) as well as a ton of related videos and press releases. For the consumer, Gucci’s Facebook offering provides an easy location to ooh and aah and share content as well. Posts by Gucci in the Notes section seem to typically get thousands of comments.

The site’s Wall is filled with info about the company selling high-end 3-D glasses as well as launching a “special edition Grammy timepiece jewelry collection.” Or announcements of huge Gucci-sponsored events that feature such red-carpet walkers as Martin Scorcese and Eva Mendes.

Along with the 46 photo albums for visitors to page through in the Photos section and 37 videos to help the world’s finest procrastinators get through the day. Interestingly, Gucci does not provide a way for visitors to post their own photos of Gucci being worn and used out in the world. It is a sign, however small, that the fashion house likes to keep control and isn’t looking necessarily to hear what its fans have to say. Fans are meant to be seen but not heard, it appears.

The most curious part of the site is the Gucci Guilty tab, which leads visitors to a short film/advertisement for a Gucci perfume along with information about the product.

TWITTER: WEEDING OUT THE FAKES

Like the many tables in New York City’s Times Square that are overloaded with fake Gucci handbags and attire, it’s easy to find a fake Gucci Twitter feed.

Were you fooled by @guccionline, which mysteriously disappeared from Twitter yesterday? The site had more than 3,900 followers and was a grossly straightforward commercial feed that simply listed a Gucci product and gave a link to it on Amazon.com. A few “good mornings” were mixed in, but that was essentially it.

And @Gucci appears to have been snagged by a young woman in Rotterdam that won’t even let you follow her unless she approves you first. She’s still managed to collect more than 300 followers.

There are a bunch of other Gucci Twitter feeds that are purely commercial. Some or all of them may be owned by the company but the “official” one is, brace yourselves, @gucciofficial.

It has more than 26,000 followers and has found its way onto more than 1,500 lists. The official Gucci tweets are very straightforward and corporate: “Gucci Cruise Collection 2011, video shot in L.A., steeped in glamour, edgy, chic and urban: http://www.youtube.com/user/gucciofficial”. There is nothing warm, personable, or particularly on-brand about the posts. If the goal is to engage the Twitterati in the brand, there is a lot of work to do. (Speaking of the brand’s YouTube channel, it’s worth checking out for not only its catwalk shows, but behind-the-scenes looks at its image campaigns.)

 
 
Gucci WEBSITE: GUCCI.COM

The designers at Gucci.com do a lovely job translating the brand’s gorgeous simplicity to the Web. Lots of clean lines and stark images fill the site, helping to showcase the brand to aspirational visitors as well as those with the dough to spend on the latest Gucci attire.

The home page’s layout makes traveling through the site a no-brainer. Three areas are called out with unmoving photos on the left side of the screen that link to images and information on the 2011 Cruise Collection, Gucci handbags, and men’s shoes. The large dominant image rolls through three different images, one to promote each of these area.

On top of the page, the site’s sections are very straightforward: shop women, shop men, handbags, women’s shoes, world of gucci. Each section front piles a slew of lovely images across the page to showcase Gucci’s many faces.

Clearly, it’s all about commerce on this site. So feel free to snag a pair of $525 men’s moccasins with embroidered horesebit and stuff ’em into your virtual “shopping bag” along with an $1,100 tote.

Like its excursions into Twitter and Facebook, Gucci’s Web page opens the door to the average consumer. And while many of them can’t afford to blow $180 for a tie, they can dream about it and do it someday and tell their friends about it. Throughout all of Gucci’s digital efforts, it does feel odd to be opening the door wide for the entire world to step in when the product has been sold for so long as something exclusionary and unattainable.

APP: PUTTING THE “APP” IN APPAREL

Cue the brand’s latest digital foray: a new suite of apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. One user, NsabinoB, gave it four stars for the following reason: “I love Gucci. I wish it was more about the apparel though. If it had that it would be five stars.”

The reality of that hasn’t changed no matter how many clicks someone lays on Gucci’s offerings. But the voyeurism that these digital platforms allow for the everyday consumer gives the brand that much more exclusionary power. After all, the more the commoners covet something, the more desirable it is for the emperors to show off.

 

Mark J. Miller writes a daily sports column for Yahoo! Sports and is a contributing writer to Crain's BtoB's Media Business magazine. His work has appeared in National Geographic Adventure, ESPN, The Washington Post, Salon.com, I.D., and Glamour, among others.

*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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