E-retailer Frank & Oak bases a marketing campaign around a video game

The 2-year-old web merchant promotes a video-game inspired clothing line on its site and within the game itself.

Thad Rueter

Frank & Oak, a web-only men’s clothing merchant, has designed a line of clothing around a new video game—a marketing move brought about in part by geographic proximity.

The apparel seller, which launched in February 2012, is selling T-shirts, denim shirts, pants, sweaters, hoodies and other items inspired by “Watch Dogs,” a video game released earlier this month by Ubisoft Montreal. The game revolves around a revenge-seeking hacker searching for his enemies in a near-future version of Chicago.

“For decades, fashion has been inspired by the worlds of rock music and film, taking cues from the likes of Mick Jagger and Steve McQueen,” says Frank & Oak co-founder Ethan Song. “As a next-generation brand, we’re often inspired by digital art forms, and breaking the boundaries between technology and fashion.”

The “Watch Dogs”-inspired apparel generally has a dark, dystopian, vaguely militaristic look. On the retailer’s site, consumers can click a box to be taken to the products tied to the video game. Frank & Oak has promoted its products at gaming conferences, Song says, and also within the video game’s mobile app, where players can win clothing items.

The two companies began crafting the promotion about eight months ago. The idea for the promotion came about in part because the retailer and the game developer have offices in the same Montreal neighborhood, Song says. Not only do video games appeal to the apparel retailer’s target demographic—young men—but video games themselves represent a juicy marketing opportunity. 59% of U.S. consumers play video games, according to The Entertainment Software Association, a trade group, with 51% of U.S. households owning a game console as of early 2014. By comparison, about 66% of the U.S population attended a movie in 2013, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

Frank & Oak declined to provide sales numbers for the new clothing line.


apparel, e-commerce, Frank & Oak, marketing, Merchandising, video games, web-only retailer