Do Brands Benefit from Being in 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood'?

The engagement seen by two major fashion labels shows the effectiveness of mobile games as a marketing platform.
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Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Photo: Glu Mobile

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Photo: Glu Mobile

It's been two years since Kim Kardashian West unleashed her mobile game "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" to the masses, and with more than 45 million downloads and $157.8 million in (non-GAAP) revenue as of the end of March, it goes to show that Glu Mobile hit the big one when it decided to digitize the reality star mogul. (Our own review provides further evidence as to how borderline-addictive the game can really be.) And they're not the only ones who have benefited. Shortly after launching, the game opened itself up to brands hoping to get their names in front of its millions of players. 

So far, the integrations range from fashion and beauty to retailers and even a major motion picture: Balmain, Karl Lagerfeld, Judith Leiber, Spring, Nars Cosmetics and "The Huntsman: Winter's War." It's a modest number of partnerships for "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," but the payoff, so far, has been good, particularly for two big names involved.

In November of last year, Karl Lagerfeld joined "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" as a character, along with his own virtual boutique of ready-to-wear bags and shoes that users can shop. The timing coincided with the launch of his own e-commerce website, which players were able to browse one day before the public. On launch day, the brand's site traffic tripled and continued to double daily for the remainder of the month. During that month, players were spending an average of 50 minutes engaging with the brand, while 200,000 of them coughed up their "K Stars" for virtual Karl Lagerfeld items. Over a span of 30 days, a total of 2.5 million players went on to visit Karl.com.

Balmain in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Photo: Glu Mobile

Balmain in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Photo: Glu Mobile

A month after Lagerfeld, Olivier Rousteing made his inevitable debut on his bestie's mobile game, offering 20 women's looks and 10 men's looks from Balmain's fall 2015 collection. By February, Rousteing was designing new Balmain pieces exclusively for "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood." For the first month of the brand's involvement, more than 200,000 virtual pieces were already owned by players, who spent an average engagement time of 25 minutes with Balmain. (An interesting comparison to Lagerfeld's stats, but what fashion persona is more intriguing than Lagerfeld? Okay, maybe Anna Wintour.)

Most popular Balmain products on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Photo: Glu Mobile

Most popular Balmain products on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Photo: Glu Mobile

And while not as commercially driven as the brands mentioned earlier, high-profile people like Andre Leon Talley, Anna Dello Russo, NeNe Lekes, Kardashian-West's glam squad members Jen Atkin and Mario Dedivanovic, as well as most of the Jenner-Kardashian family, have lent their likenesses to the game. And the steady success of "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" has inspired a slew of stars to dip their toes into the online gaming world: Kendall and Kylie launched their own mobile game earlier this year and Britney Spears in May. Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and even actor Jason Statham and chef Gorden Ramsay have them in the works. Not to mention Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and Paris Hilton, all of whom have their own gaming apps. 

All the more for brands to cash in on.

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Update: This article has been updated to clarify that 2.5 million players visited Karl.com over a 30-day period. The original version had stated that the number of visitors were accounted for a span of 20 days.