VIVIAN, POE IN VIRTUAL DEAL
Byline: Peter Braunstein
NEW YORK — In a major step toward fusing the virtual and real worlds, Fishkin Entertainment/Atlantic recording artist Poe has forged a marketing and promotional deal with hyperkinetic fashion avatar Vivian of Vivianlives.com.
By the terms of the agreement, Poe will appear as Vivian’s online animated friend, sharing in the trials and tribulations of the fashionista avatar’s online existence. Poe’s presence at Vivianlives.com will also take the form of journal entries, personal photographs, autographed posters and chat sessions.
“I’m a huge Poe fan,” said Sherrie Krantz, founder and chief executive officer of Forever After Inc., the corporate parent of Vivianlives.com. “When I found out she was one of our users, this was the completely natural next step.”
The alliance came out of Poe’s infatuation with the Vivianlives Web site, which resulted in a real-life encounter between Krantz and Poe. Poe, a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter whose 1995 debut album “Hello,” went gold, is currently promoting her follow-up album entitled “Haunted.” “Vivian is the coolest,” said Poe. “She’s smart, witty and, most of all, honest about where she is in life. A friend of mine introduced me to her site and I was an instant fan. I could relate to so much of what she was going through,” Poe continued. “Her apartment, her boyfriend, her life. Since I spend so much time on the road, it’s great to have a friend who lives in a virtual world. No matter where I am — Texas or Timbuktu — I can always go over to Viv’s house and hang out.”
Krantz believes that, apart from the obvious boon of a celebrity tie-in, Poe’s appearance on the Web site will enhance Vivian-the-avatar’s reality quotient. “Incorporating a real rock star who believes in escapism and make-believe enhances the user’s experience and increases her cool factor,” said Krantz. “Poe goes there — she puts her emotions on the line and so does Viv. That’s why it works.”
The Poe connection also marks the latest milestone in Vivianslives.com’s accumulation of synergy pacts. In the last year, Vivian has consummated an e-commerce alliance with e-tailer StyleShop.com, a promotional deal with DKNY Jeans Active, a tie-in with celebrity fitness guru David Kirsch (Vivian works out at his trendy Madison Square Club) and — just last week — a cross-marketing deal with Marie Claire magazine, as noted in WWD.
At this dizzying rate, a partnership between Vivian with the ubiquitous, free-floating Isaac Mizrahi might be just around the corner.