LVMH : A virtual luxury?

A virtual reality annual report has flaws, but is worth watching

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The feature

LVMH, the French luxury goods conglomerate, has created a 360-degree version of its annual report, which is being promoted on its corporate website.

Visitors begin the virtual journey outside the Paris headquarters of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, LVMH’s non-profit art museum and cultural centre. Inside, visitors are taken to different rooms in the museum, as well as four virtual, but realistic, luxury stores in the LVMH group.

There are clickable icons along the way to call up videos and ‘page-turner’ narratives about the group’s activities in 2017. At the end, key figures are displayed on a screen, before directing people to the exit.

The takeaway

We tried the feature on desktop, mobile and using 3D goggles, and although the overall experience on all three types of screens was awkward in different ways, we spent longer than we thought we would looking around.

It is visually sumptuous, beautifully designed and probably more expensive than most corporate comms budgets will accommodate. But the message it sends – ‘we don’t mind spending money to show how innovative we are’ – fits in well with the rest of LVMH’s web presence and brand (the subject matter – luxury goods and Frank Gehry architecture also help).

As an annual report, it has little or no value for professional investors, but it is most likely not intended for them. The audience is broader – all corporate audiences, private investors, customers and the general public; part of turning the annual exercise of producing a financial report into more of a public relations event.

Although perhaps not directly relevant for most corporate websites yet, it is worth watching for potential applications of the future. For example, it manages to convey an awful lot about LVMH as a group, and as the technology improves and gets cheaper, we could see a similar feature fitting nicely in a future ‘about us’ or careers section.
First published 18 April, 2018
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