Bottega Veneta Salon 01 spring campaign

LONDON — Bottega Veneta’s disappearing act has moved to Asia, where the brand shut down its social media accounts on Feb. 24, with no explanation.

It wiped its Weibo account — which had 270,000 followers — and other feeds two months after pulling out of all social media in Western markets. The company has repeatedly declined to comment on the strategy.

Last week, Kering chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault indicated that Bottega’s move was not dissimilar to that of its stablemate Balenciaga, which since 2018 has posted what appear to be user-generated images without captions on its Instagram account.

Unlike BalenciagaBottega Veneta abruptly deleted its Instagram account, which had 2.5 million followers. In its place now are myriad fan sites and pages, such as @newbottega, which are not officially affiliated with the brand.

“Regarding its digital communication strategy, it’s not disappearing from social networks — it’s merely using them differently. Bottega has decided, in line with its positioning, to lean much more on its ambassadors and fans by giving them the material they need to talk about the brand through various social networks, by letting them speak for the brand rather than doing it itself,” Pinault said as Kering released its fourth-quarter results.

The idea is similar to livestreaming, which is popular in China, where brand fans, ambassadors and content creators sell product as they entertain and connect with followers. In Bottega’s case, the fans’ Instagram images are largely static, and no actual selling is going on.  

Pinault underlined that each house at Kering, whose brands also include Gucci, Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, has its own strategy. “In order to be very complementary, we don’t want to replicate the same thing at every brand. Bottega has had a very specific positioning for years, which is now being reinforced,” Pinault said.

He noted that the change in social media strategy appeared to be paying off: “I have to say that after a month and a half, it’s pretty convincing in terms of Bottega Veneta’s visibility, and we are monitoring it quite precisely.”

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