Coach Casts Lil Nas X and Imma in a Virtual Universe

Who can say what's real these days

Lil Nas X is as real as it gets. Imma, not so much.

The music star and virtual influencer dive through the looking-glass with other human celebs for Coach's spring collection campaign set in a colorful CGI universe.

This approach embraces an increasingly blurred line between physical and digital worlds. Notably, it gives Imma—a pixelated marketing powerhouse—equal billing with living, breathing endorsers. In the cyber realm, among young adults, she's a bankable draw.

Coach | Find Your Courage, Chapter 1

Agency Marcel, director Vallée Duhamel and photographer/art director Charlie Engman led creative development. The work also features Camila Mendes, Youngji Lee, Kōki and Wu Jinyan.

Imma meets each, beginning with Lil Nas, in separate spots, and tries to learn their "superpowers." The X man teaches her to rewrite rules and play by her own game.

"Envisioning Spring, I was inspired to explore the archetypes of American style and the codes that define Coach’s legacy through the point-of-view of today’s generation," says Coach creative director Stuart Vevers. "'Find Your Courage' expresses the feeling I wanted for the collection, where our heritage is the foundation for exciting new possibilities for self-expression."

Does exploring notions of courage feel a tad haughty for a maker of snazzy bags and purses? For some, perhaps. Then again, we are what we wear—and how we choose to accessorize says a lot.

It's a lively fusion of realities, a brand-boosting meeting of worlds that feels natural here in 2024 and should only accelerate in the short term.

Thankfully, living talent still fuels and adds dimension to such initiatives. For now.

"Lil Nas was amazing while interacting with a virtual character," Marcel global creative director Remy Aboukrat tells Muse. "Maybe because he is embracing his different personalities—the one he is in real life and the one he is online. This is also the meaning of this piece: showing our audience that it's ok to be both until you're true to yourself."

As for Imma, she represents "the perfect ambassador to tell this story because she is challenging the notion of what we consider 'real' today," says Coach Global CMO and N.A. president Sandeep Seth. "Her journey in our campaign takes us into a new world that pushes the boundaries of self-expression and inspires us along the way."

More spots will roll out through May.

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