This is an installment of a four-part editorial series exploring the changes to the retail landscape by emerging technologies. It was made possible through the sponsorship of Adobe.
Hewlett Packard’s latest launch stunt marries fine art to high tech for a social cause — one of a number of recent initiatives in the digital world to collaborate with artists and build creative cachet.
The tech giant recently teamed up with influencer marketing company Collectively to tap prominent LA-based fine jewelry designer Jess Hannah to design a one-of-a-kind custom notebook, plated in 18-karat gold with a diamond-encrusted logo and a rose-cut diamond power button.
The special-edition laptop, titled “J. Hannah for HP,” was revealed today at the New York Times Luxury Conference in Versailles, in tandem with the launch of Spectre 13, HP’s new premium notebook. The annual event addresses the most pressing challenges in luxury fashion and convenes top CEOs and thought leaders to discuss insights and strategies for the future of retail.
“[These partnerships] are designed to attract attention at a time when consumer demand is somewhat muted,” said Luca Solca, managing director of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas. “They are also attracting consumers who are looking for a bit more than just products. Art is used to provide a more interesting shopping environment and a more compelling experience.”
Beyond wearable tech collaborations like Tory Burch for FitBit, which comes in 16-karat gold or 18-karat rose gold and retails for $175, this is one of the first-ever limited edition collaborations in the luxury technology space, according to Ryan Stern, CEO and co-founder of Collectively.
“For all of our projects, we go through a careful matchmaking process to help select the right influencer partners,” she said. “We take into consideration the HP marketing and branding strategy and objectives, as well as the content style, characteristics and capabilities of the individual influencer, so that the collaboration from both sides is strong and authentic.”
The laptop will be auctioned off at a later date, and HP opted to take a charitable approach and position the sale as a cause marketing campaign. Proceeds from the auction will support the Nelson Mandela Foundation, an organization that promotes the legacy of Mandela and his quest for social justice.
“We find that social cause integration can be very successful when tapping the right communities and influencers and would love to work on more campaigns in that area,” Stern said.
Tech and art partnerships have continued to thrive in recent years. In 2014, MPC New York collaborated with artist Thompson Harrell to launch The Color Project, an expansive 27-screen installation that used Google Earth to generate mosaics based on geographic regions. Likewise, HP competitor Intel previously launched a variety of collaborations with fashion leaders like Barneys New York and Opening Ceremony.
This includes the rise of companies that intrinsically link art and tech as the foundation of their business — such as the crowdsourcing fundraiser site Kickstarter and the 3D printing platform MakerBot — proving art and technology will continue to be a complementary pair.
“[HP is] elevating the role of an influencer beyond simply creating social media content and ultimately reinventing influencer marketing into the realm of luxury product design, supporting emerging designers,” Stern said.