Lacoste unveils immersive retail activations for the Miami Open – WWD
Lacoste is doubling down on its tennis heritage by creating an experiential extravaganza in South Florida for the Miami Open.
Over the next two weeks, the brand, which is the official kit supplier for the tournament, will unveil a series of immersive retail activations called “Shatter The Court”. The initiative includes a three-story shop, customization station, and lounge at Hard Rock Stadium, where the event takes place. Lacoste has also created a collection in partnership with LeBron James’ Unknwn boutique.
Connecting all of Lacoste’s events, the Shatter The Court brand is designed to embody the fact that “in sport and in life, the barriers and limitations that hold us back must be broken down in order to reach new heights,” said the society.
Robert Aldrich, CEO of Lacoste, said the initiative is the most elaborate the brand has done to date. “It’s not the first tournament we’ve sponsored, but we’ve never done an activation like this before,” he said.
He said the brand had built a very large tent featuring what he described as high-impact graphics located right at the entrance to the stadium. Although it is temporary and will only be open for two weeks, Aldrich said it was “extremely well done. This is probably the most beautiful tennis store you have ever seen. It’s immersive and very unusual for an on-premises retail space, and it’s especially unusual for Tennis,” which isn’t known for its elaborate retail spaces.
Specifically, the boutique offers the exclusive Lacoste Miami Open collection on the first floor for attendees to shop, as well as the brand’s player technical gear.
On the second floor is the Lacoste Atelier and custom station where vinyl patches and graphics will be available to be heat pressed onto certain garments in certain locations, including right or left sleeves, under the collar or on the chest opposite the brand’s signature crocodile logo.
While waiting for customization to be complete, buyers can scan a QR code to sign up for Community, a platform that will offer details relating to all of Lacoste’s Miami Open appearances, both at the stadium and at the Unknown Store. . It will also let them know when their products are ready for pickup.
Shoppers will also be invited to wait at the third floor lounge where they can sip a cocktail and grab a snack. The show, which is called Chez René after the brand’s founder, René Lacoste, will also show the games. Aldrich said the show, which sports a “very Miami” vibe, is meant to be an ode to the brand’s founder and legacy.
At Unknwn, Lacoste has reinvented the brand’s full-size basketball court by converting it into a special 12 x 6 meter touch tennis court where visitors can use foam balls to try their hand at the sport. Additionally, an exclusive collection of Lcste Unknwn apparel was created for the event, college-inspired and meant to capture the retro energy and nostalgia of college life. The collection of hoodies, t-shirts, sweatpants and shorts will be available in the Unknwn Miami store during the event as well as online.
Aldrich said Lacoste worked with Unknwn last year when Bruno Mars presented a special Ricky Regal collection. “They were one of our exclusive partners for the collaboration,” he said. And due to their location in the heart of Miami, it was a no-brainer to team up again for the tennis event. “It’s a really new way to expand activation beyond the Miami Open site,” he said.
It also represents Lacoste’s mission to bring the sport of tennis to more people. “You might not think of a cool street store ‘like Unknwn as a natural partner for a tennis event,’ but that’s where tennis is going,” Aldrich said. He cited other similar partnerships with Awake New York, a streetwear brand founded by Angelo Baque that has reimagined sport-inspired archival pieces from Lacoste’s history, and the new collection with Mindcraft, a video game bac to sand. “We’re now playing with street brands, games and the metaverse,” Aldrich said.
In addition to trying to attract a younger, more fashion-forward clientele with these partnerships, Lacoste is also working to expand its reach with women. He recently engaged tennis star Venus Williams as a global ambassador to cater to the contemporary women’s market.
Overall, Aldrich said Lacoste saw business start to pick up last year around this time and the momentum has continued this year. He said overall sales were better than expected in 2021 and 2022 is also off to a strong start.
“Our business is extremely robust,” he said, without providing numbers. “Customer demand is not the problem, but meeting that demand is.”
Additionally, plans include renovating the Lacoste Atlanta store this year and moving the unit to Aventura, Florida, he said. “We are very active in the market in response to our very strong business.”
The Miami Open runs until April 3 and although many of the sport’s top players, including top seed Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, whose vaccination status renders him unable to enter the United States, do not participate, it is nevertheless considered one of the best tennis tournaments in the United States. Djokovic is a Lacoste brand ambassador with a contract that runs until 2025 and he is the face of its Tournament collection.