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Addictive Social Gaming (INTERVIEW)

Matthew Primack, Managing Director at Fashion Week Live

— February 17, 2013 — Business
Fashion Week Live (FWL) is an innovative, fashion-themed role-playing game that highlights the growing trend of social brand integration. Described as “the finest-looking fashion game on a social network,” it was created in collaboration with IMG’s Fashion and Licensing departments, 505 Games and FunCom. Matthew Primack is the Managing Director of FWL and the VP of Licensing at IMG, and I had a chance to speak with him about the development of FWL, as well as the growing trends of social gaming, brand integration and the impact of augmented reality on the global fashion scene.

5 Questions with Matthew Primack

1. Can you tell me about Fashion Week Live and how the game came about?

It’s a collaboration between IMG’s Llicensing and Fashion divisions, as well as the teams at 505 Games and FunCom. The game was in development for about 5 years, and initially started due to the traction we saw with female users of the Wii console. Once social sites like Facebook and Twitter began taking up more leisure time, we understood the need for more casual gameplay.

We launched the beta version in September 2012 and currently have about 700,000 daily users. We’ve also retained a large amount of initial users with no real marketing push.

2. IMG has partnered with fashion icon DKNY. Why is it important to have a brand like DKNY come on board?

From very early on we wanted to make the game as real as possible – we wanted to feature real products that people would recognize. Our initial design concepts proved that we could faithfully recreate real world clothing in a digital form so we asked DKNY if we could demonstrate the art style using one of their dresses and immediately the DKNY people were on board.

Being leaders in the fashion world, DKNY saw the value in a game like Fashion Week Live and wanted to be a part of it from the very beginning. By introducing consumers to a game like Fashion Week Live, they enter into a world where seeing products from DKNY will seem natural, not forced. It adds value to social brand engagement.

3. FWL is a way for consumers to augment their own reality while simultaneously connecting them with a recognizable brand. What can be said about this trend of social brand engagement? Is this something consumers can expect more of in the future?

In the fashion world you’d be hard-pressed to find a tool that lets you manipulate reality. With FWL we’re giving consumers, creatives, and fashion enthusiasts a chance to create their own clothes, dress their own models, and direct their own shows, and this is something that the fashion world can expect more of.

Again, it goes back to things feeling natural and not forced. We’re looking at the seamless transition of augmented reality and social brand engagement.

4. A game like FWL highlights how engaged consumers can be when given the right tools. Do you think augmented reality will have an impact on the fashion world in the coming years?

Augmented reality is a powerful tool already used in the fashion world with things like digitized fashion shows, smartphone apps and the Fashion Week Live game. What’s great about augmented reality is it allows people the freedom to create, the freedom to design. I think this is something that’s already permeated the fashion world, and will only become more visible in the future as consumers become more engaged with the technology.

5. IMG is a company that’s been an innovator in categories like fashion, media, and sports. How much does the culture play into that? How do you create a culture of innovation and creativity?

The culture at IMG is fantastic, and I think it all goes back to roots of the company. The founders, Mark McCormack and Arnold Palmer (yes, golf icon Arnold Palmer) started IMG over a handshake. That just doesn’t happen anymore these days. That spirit, that entrepreneurial drive still exists today and is infectious throughout the business.