Pokemon X Balmain: Pokemon Taps Luxury Fashion Designer Balmain For A Connected Fashion Collaboration

Pokemon and Balmain are teaming up to bring Near Field communication (NFC) technology to the forefront of the fashion industry. 

In addition to just announced Pikachu-themed jackets and accessories from Balmain in its latest collaboration, Pokémon fans can now collect one of the 15 Balmain x Pokémon limited edition NFC-enabled patches available to purchase at nine Balmain boutiques across the US, Europe, and Asia. For a lucky few worldwide, the adventure will provide a gamified user experience within Pokémon UNITE by tapping their patch, said the company in a release on Wednesday.  

The brand partnership is the first to connect a physical touchpoint with digital rewards in the Pokémon UNITE universe. Once purchased, users access the experience by tapping their smartphone onto the patches, unlocking a range of digital content and prizes, including VIP tickets to the Balmain Festival in Paris or early access to the Balmain Fashion set in Pokémon UNITE. The NFC patches will only be available in person at Balmain stores. 

Pokemon was incredibly successful at driving users to physical, real-world locations with Pokemon GO, and this move seems to demonstrate a way to unlock some of that power.

The showpiece of the collaboration is 20 limited edition Balmain x Pokémon luxury jackets. Each jacket features 15 patches embedded with NFC tags, connecting the Balmain army straight into the Pokémon universe. There are ten bespoke jackets worldwide, and ten will be given to celebrities worldwide. 

Headed by creative director Olivier Rousteing, Balmain has adopted innovative NFC technology to deliver an experience to Pokémon fans by linking their luxury products to their digital realm.

"This is the first time Balmain has explored NFC technology, and as a luxury brand, we are excited for the continued integration of new technologies, offering our customers an engaging, collectible experience, making our brand more widely accessible to a larger audience than ever before," Olivier Rousteing, Creative Director of Balmain, said in a press release. 

This digital and physical collaboration will allow fans to enjoy a hyper-personalized in-game Pokémon-themed experience, says the company. 

The Balmain x Pokémon collaboration works in the following steps: 

  • Unlock the badge: An NFC tag is found behind the Pokémon on each patch. Users tap their smartphone to 'Unlock' it, using iOS or Android, automatically launching their browser to access the Balmain x Pokémon digital experience. 
  • Authentication: The digital experience is launched, and users can register and claim their Balmain x Pokémon badge and join the fun.
  • Unlock the legend: Users can collect all four unique Pokémon patches in their region and gain access to purchase the fifth legendary badge. Only 35 patches are available in Asia, 25 in the US, and 15 in Europe.
  • Earn Rewards: Once users enter the experience, there is the opportunity to unlock exclusive rewards and prizes. Prizes range from a complete Balmain Fashion Set in Pokémon UNITE to VIP tickets to the third edition of the Balmain Paris Festival.  

Cameron Worth, CEO and founder of SharpEnd, an Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider involved in the partnership, said, "We are using NFC to create unique opportunities for fans to enjoy a gamified experience – helping Balmain to continue to push boundaries and open up new paths for rewarding customers."

"The experience is designed around pre and post-purchase so in-store fans can come in, and enjoy a pre-purchase/pre-claiming experience, accessing some of the digital content. The pre-purchase experience is information on the Pokemon characters themselves. Once you have registered and claimed the NFC patch or Balmain jacket product as bought, you will be able to register using your smartphone," Worth told Benzinga. 


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