Luxury brands, it seems, are looking to deepen their connections with American consumers.
Earlier this week, Hopscotch Luxe — an arm of the French communications agency Hopscotch Groupe, which caters to luxury clients — opened its first office in New York City. The Paris-based marketing agency BETC and German-born PR hub Karla Otto (both of which cater largely to luxury brands) will also be expanding their presence here, adding new outposts in New York and Los Angeles. While both confirmed the openings, neither could confirm dates or specifics.
According to Matthieu Albertini, the managing director of Hopscotch Luxe, the reasoning behind its U.S. launch was twofold.
For starters, he said, there’s a market opportunity, given that the U.S. is still the largest market for luxury shoppers in the world. After founding the Luxe arm in Paris in 2015, said Albertini, the company quickly developed a client portfolio (which includes LVMH, La Prairie and Mont Blanc) and saw enough success to warrant expansion. According to company reports, it increased its growth margin by almost 100 percent during that first year.
Secondly, its clients were calling for it. “They’ve been asking us more and more to reflect a global presence in their press [materials and activations], and to think about hosting global events that utilize local implementation,” said Albertini. Luxury brands’ old model of throwing a few big events a year, in only one location (usually where they’re based), just doesn’t work anymore, he added. “These brands need to regularly communicate with their local clients and consumers, so they need local subsidiaries who have experience with those people.”
When asked whether or not they planned to cater campaigns differently to U.S. versus European consumers, Carole Fiaux — who worked at LVMH and Estée Lauder and was brought on to lead Hopscotch Luxe’s U.S. office — said yes and no. While Chinese, American and European consumers, for instance, may all have subtle differences, the needs of most luxury consumers are aligned, she said. “We’re not thinking from a mass-market perspective, and all of these consumers are looking for a certain elevated universe from their brands.”
Hopscotch Luxe’s new U.S. branding
“When a consumer enters a Louis Vuitton store, they need to have the same experience, whether they’re in Los Angeles or Shanghai,” added Albertini.
So what, exactly, are luxury clients looking for when they seek out Hopscotch? 360-degree campaigns that are both immersive and personal, with a “French touch,” per Fiaux –– the specifics of which are hard to gauge.
All of its work seeks to converge physical experiences with the digital realm or, as Albertini refers to it, a “phygital” approach. Bringing in the art world for unique installations is another common theme.
Hopscotch Luxe has been working with the Swiss skin-care company La Prairie, for example, on the traveling Art of Caviar exhibit, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the brand’s famous Caviar Collection. Various artists and art collectives, including Paul Coudamy and Solid Frequencies, were tapped to create pieces for the show inspired by the caviar-infused beauty beads that comprise the line. First shown at Art Basel, the exhibition has since made it’s way to Paris and stopped in New York on September 7. It will continue on to Shanghai and Hong Kong through November.
While Hopscotch is focused first on building out the business of its current clients, it hopes to eventually bring some American companies on board. In a saturated market (see: LaForce, KCD Worldwide, Black Frame, etc.), this might be tough, but Fiaux is not worried.
“We have a very deep understanding of how to execute communications in the luxury industry, which differentiates us from other American agencies,” she said.
At the moment, Fiaux is the sole bridge between the Paris and U.S. offices, working with a network of outside partners to implement her clients’ campaigns stateside. That is likely to change, as business picks up, which Hopscotch Luxe is betting on. “We already have projects lined up for our division from our existing client portfolio that will keep us busy for the next year while we grow our presence here,” she said.
Time will tell if American brands buy into the “French touch” that International companies like Hopscotch Luxe claim to offer as eagerly as they do the “French girl” narrative.