CJ Opinion: LVMH’s 22 Montaigne and the Relationship Between Luxury Brands and Cinema

By Mike Hope-Milne | June 3, 2024 1:00 am PDT

Named after the stunning street where its Paris headquarters sits, luxury powerhouse LVMH is launching a new entertainment division called 22 Montaigne. This new creative endeavour explores opportunities for entertainment creators, producers and distributors on film, TV and audio projects to collaborate with the business’ portfolio of high-end brands, from Tiffany & Co. to Christian Dior to Givenchy, to name just a couple. 

Similar to fashion house Saint Laurent’s new division Saint Laurent Entertainment, this move sparks an intriguing shift in LVMH’s relationship with the entertainment world. Content has already been made about the company’s brands on an ad-hoc basis: Apple TV’s “The New Look,” “Discovering Givenchy,” the documentary “Dior and I,” iconic films such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” And this new division additionally ensures that entertainment creators know exactly where to go to seek their guidance and input. 

It’s also a clear signal to the entire entertainment industry that LVMH is proactively looking for content creators to tell its stories through content it will help finance.

The growing appetite for brands in film
“House of Gucci,” “Ferrari” and “Air” are just a few of the recent cinematic releases focussing on world-leading brands. There’s a clear appetite and appreciation for the history, glamour and storytelling around the business of luxury – just look at the years of product placement in James Bond films as a case in point. And the astronomical success “Barbie” received has set the precedent for how big and how far businesses can take their brands with film, from extended film partnerships right through to driving individual product sales

While LVMH will likely not want to replicate the hype around the “Barbie” film – which owner Mattel had a heavy hand in producing – it has no doubt given them pause for thought on how they can leverage film and cinema content to boost brand awareness and sales among global audiences.

The teams at LVMH are experts in their brands, but to create something meaningful and connect with audiences, it’s crucial to work with creatives in bridging the gap, with the know-how to do exactly this. This is what we do at Pearl & Dean when building brand-film partnerships. (Full disclosure: I’m Pearl & Dean’s Enterprise Director.) So by working with entertainment creatives and producers, LVMH can use their expertise to create authentic stories that truly connect with audiences.

A business like LVMH – which is home to a treasure chest of brands with impressively loyal customers and a specific image to uphold – will have some form of control and influence on the direction of each project and narrative. The challenge for storytellers and creatives will be in ensuring an authentic final project also works seamlessly and in line with the rest of both their, and LVMH’s, universe.

Customer-First Approach 
In an age when consumers are being bombarded with advertising every second of every day, brands are having to find credible ways to break through the advertising fog and appeal to their target audiences.

The exclusive experiential partnership between Discovery, Everyman Cinema and The Grove Hotel, a five-star retreat set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside.

Consumers today desire authentic communications from brands and respond well if they can positively tap into their cultural passion points. Film is a powerful platform for storytelling, so it naturally provides a perfect vehicle for this authenticity and cultural relevance; from getting under the skin of interesting and complex (real-life) characters, through to celebrating creativity in a certain field like fashion and examining its impact and role on our society.

But creating impactful award-winning movies is one thing. An organization like LVMH will likely be seeking to make this stretch further for its brands. “Barbie” has proven to the masses how a brand can get very creative with film partnerships – there’s a multitude of ways that LVMH could extend its films and brands into other luxury sectors – whether that’s through clever hospitality (see Discovery’s partnership with Everyman and luxury hotel The Grove), or automotive collaborations (a good example being Jaguar’s collaboration with Everyman) or even with culture and art. 

LVMH’s 22 Montaigne Entertainment is a fascinating development for the film and cinema industry. For one, it is a strong statement to the market that this enormous conglomerate is proactively looking at new avenues to tell brand stories and reach new audiences in exciting ways. But it’s also recognition that creative content, like film, is a powerful channel to drive impact and revenue. 

If these investments pay off for the likes of LVMH and Saint Laurent, we may expect to see more large-scale cinematic collaborations with brands. But it’s crucial to bear in mind what audiences really want; powerful and authentic storytelling.

Mike Hope-Milne