Many organisations try to bring a brand to life through an experience, hoping to create connectivity and engagement with consumers.
The benefits can help encourage deeper brand discovery in a perfectly curated environment, yet there is a risk of ‘over-promise & under-deliver’ with inflated expectations and a disappointing reality.
In the throes of the current London heatwave, internationally renowned luxury jeweller, Tiffany & Co, opened the doors for its Vision & Virtuosity exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. The exhibition marks 185 years since the brand was born and 150 years since its launch in London.
Visiting an indoor gallery on a rare hot day in the UK’s capital city did not deter any of the queue of visitors patiently waiting to get indoors as QR code checks, and security checks were made.Every age group seemed to be represented, confirming the wide appeal of the Tiffany & Co. legacy.
Tiffany & Co. has always been as relevant for its celebrity collaborations as it for its craftsmanship and design; the iconic blue box brand does not seem to have lost any of its appeal.
This exhibition is not just a showcase for jewellery lovers as it offers the opportunity to understand what makes for a legacy brand and how traditional brands have to stay relevant in an ever evolving world.
The Tiffany & Co. app can be used to book the ticket for the free exhibition and it also hosts a full audio tour. This is helpfully divided into exhibits allowing users to take in the vast exhibition space at their own pace.
At the outset, a well-informed and cheery guide advised our group that there was a lot to explore, at which point some dedicated brand disciples ahead of me did start to question just how much bling they can take. We were enticed by the dangling carrot of the ‘grand finale’ when visitors can ‘try on’ the famous 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, worn by both Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.
The key features to drive the exhibition were pop culture, technology interactive stations and ‘Instagramable’ moments. The Vision and Virtuosity event also dedicated time and space to the sheer beauty and craftsmanship of the collection of exquisite jewellery.
There are pieces which focus on partnerships with reknowned designers such as Elsa Perretti and Paloma Picasso. Each area and setting is visually displayed to perfection, curated with the same care as the famous Tiffany windows in the 5th Avenue store. Every product shines and is lit to perfection in a lighting framework created with DHA Designs.
As well as the magic used to help guests try on the famous yellow diamond, technology allows you to create your own love message on the famous eau-de-nil background before ‘sending’ it around the digital exhibition walls created by La Meduse.
Many celebrities have been associated with the brand over the years, the most synonymous and iconic being Oscar winning actress, Audrey Hepburn. As Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanys, Ms Hepburn is celebrated in a Vision & Virtuosity showcase alongside a replica frontage of the famous 5th Avenue store, complete with sights and sounds of New York complete with a yellow taxi cab. Film memorabilia from the 1961 film includes the black Givenchy dress worn by Ms Hepburn as well as an original script.
There is inevitably a gift shop to complete the tour with a wealth of merchandise to commemorate your visit. The shop was a hive of activity, with some limited edition items already sold out in certain variations & sizes.
Most items feature the famous brand and its marque or its eau-de-nil colour in one way or another, with choices beyond the usual gallery gift shop offerings of posters and coffee table books. For example, there is a Krink Ink x Tiffany & Co ink set as well as a rare Steiff x Tiffany & Co bear. Prices start under £25 for smaller gifts which saw many shoppers excited to buy and to walk away with the famous blue carrier bag as a souvenir of their visit.
There is a final chance to take a memorable image; this time, of yourself sitting ‘in’ a famous blue jewellery box.
A refreshing part of this experience was a complete dedication to service; the guides and security team members were incredibly helpful , knowledgeable and engaging and happy to help guests take pictures or assist in many ways through the 7 exhibits
The only thing missing was a Tiffany & Co. food & beverage offer; yet the most ardent of brand fans need not be disappointed. The Blue Box cafe is situated in Harrods in Knightsbridge, just one mile away, where a range of culinary delights are inspired by the Tiffany brand.
Charles Lewis Tiffany once said: “Beautiful design makes a beautiful life” – certainly beautiful designs makes for this beautiful celebration of a legacy.
The exhibition runs until August 19.