“Roblox shares many of our brand values: inclusivity, diversity, creativity and – above all – a focus on community,” the brand said in a statement. “We’re excited to meet Roblox users on their own terms and enrich their experiences within the platform, in engaging ways that we can’t do with traditional social platforms. Together with Roblox, we’re continuing to build this world as we live in it, watching it come to life, and co-creating for the next iteration to come.”
Designed as a deconstructed interpretation of Brooklyn, New York, the Tommy Play aesthetic in Roblox reflects the street-style culture of Tommy Jeans; graffiti-covered walls have been custom created by Brooklyn-based artists.
As gamers enter Tommy Play, they can access mini-games, ride a BMX bike around the map, participate in challenges, collect Tommy Tokens and upgrade or trade items like bikes, helmets with superpowers, headphones, garments, and accessories. Players can also unlock hidden experiences and join scavenger hunts to discover unique items for their avatar or uncover secret clues about what’s to come in the future.
Aside from playing games in Roblox, users regularly collect and change their avatar. In 2021, 165 billion avatar updates were performed. This is an area Tommy Hilfiger has been exploring since 2021. The iconic brand partnered with eight digital fashion designers from the Roblox community to create and promote a Tommy X Roblox Creators collection of 30 items that people could use to dress their avatars within Roblox.
The Tommy Play Roblox game complements Hilfiger’s other gaming initiative, Team Tommy – a community-led program that celebrates eight up-and-coming talented gamers from around the world.
Team Tommy gamers take part in monthly livestream events and in-person industry events and store activations. In Roblox, they will be streaming an activation called “24 Hours of Team Tommy”, where they will take their communities on a journey through space, play the games, and style their avatars with the latest collectables and garments. These initiatives encompass Tommy Hilfiger’s legacy of fostering new and emerging talent, and seek to empower a new wave of champion creatives in the gaming space.
Enter the metaverse
For many brands, it seems the first stop when entering the metaverse is Roblox. Along with Tommy Hilfiger, brands such as Nike, Gucci, Forever 21 and Vans have created various experiences in the gaming platform. As global digital strategies begin to incorporate new channels such as digital games, immersive experiences and virtual environments, we are getting closer to shopping and socialising in the metaverse.
These are necessary steps in understanding a new era of retail, one that spans physical and digital and is not based on a linear journey of a customer walking into a store or buying from a website. We’ve seen the accelerated rise of social shopping, digital collectables and non-fungible tokens, too. While a purchase is a definitive result between customer and retailer, engagement and interaction are measures of success that are becoming just as valuable.
For the next 20 years and beyond, the way we shop will be an evolution from what we know now, with the added convenience of technology and data. As we get better at identifying problems and inefficiencies across supply chains, product, business and customer experience, we become quicker at augmenting the process with innovative solutions.
Some might think that Roblox is not a worthwhile platform for building brand awareness, but that is underestimating the power of where your future customer spends hours upon hours. It is predicted that Generation Alpha, kids born between 2010 and 2025, will have the greatest spending power in history. After all, they’re the first generation born in the 21st century and growing up with a digital-first approach to socialising, learning, and making purchases.
Whether it’s Roblox or another platform, the brilliance lies in engagement through interaction, the art of creating something fun through the lens of a brand. Traditional marketing techniques are becoming redundant to a younger audience as they seek spaces and opportunities to play and contribute.
Tommy Play is just one example of putting new marketing tactics into practice. From here, Tommy Hilfiger will gain access to vast amounts of data about a customer group that will probably be its biggest spenders within the next decade. It’s this information that will drive even greater activations and experiences. Waiting a decade to see if this is a solid strategy will be at the detriment to a business. Now is the time to explore these new platforms, experiment, and collect quantitative and qualitative data to make informed decisions that resonate with future generations.