With the tastemakers who make up the fashion elite, celebrities, members of the press and New York society all under one roof, Bryant Park is a veritable marketing paradise during Fashion Week. For companies looking to market their products or boost brand image, Fashion Week sponsorship is the golden ticket.
For the economics-minded, it's fun to evaluate the PR efforts of the various sponsors. Also, between the handouts from sponsors and the gift bags from the shows, there was a lot of product to sample, and in the interest of promoting efficiency by providing more perfect information, I'll share some of my (and my fellow bloggers') experiences with you.
First, I have to hand it to UPS. "Brown" hosted 10 designers in the UPS Hub at Bryant Park and handed out brownies to the fashion press. I now associate the company with fashion and chocolate.
At the Lycra Lounge, Beauty Addict, Style Bites and I spoke with J Brand owner Jeff Rudes about the latest breakthrough in the manufacture of skinny jeans: XFit Lycra. XFit Lycra is a four-way stretch technology which promises to remedy the two most common complaints concerning skinny jeans: lack of comfort (or blood circulation, according to some), and loss of shape (more commonly referred to as "stretching out"). Rachel of Style Bites snagged a pair; read her review here.
Peroni beer is quite decent (as were the young men handing it out). If you were not at Fashion Week, check out Peroni Italy's La Dolce Vita-themed video podcast--without a doubt the most sophisticated advertisement for beer I've ever seen--for a healthy dose of eye candy.
While I'm not so sure about the name of the product, I did like Bawls energy drink, and I think the company's decision to go after the fashion crowd was smart given the group's affinity for caffeinated, calorie-free beverages. (Tom Ford has spoken out about his addiction to Diet Coke, and Atoosa of Seventeen about her daily Red Bull intake.) I wouldn't be surprised if a few fashionistas developed a taste for Bawls Guaranexx--the sugar-free version of the drink handed out for free in the tents--over the course of the week. Personally, I love it; IMO it's far superior in taste to both Red Bull and Tab. To learn more, and to read a particularly apt description of the taste of Bawls (giggles), see Beauty Addict's post on Bawls.
The last product I'm going to review in such a positive light would have to be Midori mints. I believe these were in the gift bag at Rosa Cha; all I know for sure is that I, a dyed-in-the-wool Trident White fan, want to know where to buy them.
Now, I am an economist-in-training (I apologize to return readers if that phrase seems a little tired at this point!), so I am not likely to get a positive impression of a product simply because you give it to me for free, or think of your brand in a new light simply because you offer me swag.
The Bourjois publicity stunt was cute but the faux picketers ran into some problems. Four Bourjois girls posed as protestors in front of the tents, chanting the name of the new Bourjois mascara, "Yes to volume, no to clumps!" However, they were not able to go inside the tents, and thus not able to reach a substantial amount of their intended audience who did not tend to hang out in front of the entrance to the tents with the crowd of curious onlookers which inevitably formed each day. We also saw that they were having some difficulty explaining to the police what they were doing there.
The MAC booth was an example of so-so PR. They sure knew how to reel 'em in: with comfortable seating and complimentary espressos, the booth became the unofficial second Press Area. However, the MAC representatives did nothing to further writers' knowledge of MAC products. There were pamplets detailing the MAC products used backstage at certain shows, but as these are often wrong (a very savvy makeup person who will not be named told me so), I don't consider these to be of much value. I would rather receive a brochure with information on MAC's latest innovations in makeup technology, or the chance to try a new MAC product that the company is really optimistic about. While the experience was nice, I have no good reason to head to the MAC counter next time I hit the mall.
Aquafina's new zero calorie citrus soda is good, but it's made with Aspartame. Note to Aquafina: Aspartame is OUT. Splenda is in. (Bawls is made with Splenda, by the way.)
Delta's efforts in the tents were less than successful in changing my mind about the company, and I assume that there are others who attended Fashion Week who feel the same way. First of all, Delta representatives were giving away frappuccinos (passé, not chic). What the economist in me really could not understand, however, was the $6-a-pop, miniscule sugar cookies iced with the images of such figures as Anna Wintour and Vera Wang. Delta's efforts in the tents, which did nothing to improve my perception of the brand (sponsor designers like Sari Gueron like UPS, or hand out cappuccinos and you'll have my attention), seemed to parallel the real life inefficiency of the company.
Effen Vodka supplied the Lotus bar in the tents. Unfortunately for the makers of Effen, the vodka was only served in mixed drinks, and consequently, samplers could not get a feel for the product. Instead, the only impression of Effen Vodka Fashion Week attendees were left with was that it is just as...cleverly named as Bawls Guaranexx.
I'd be very interested to hear any accounts of other fashion show attendees' experiences with the sponsors or swag. Also, I'd love to hear anyone's opinions of the aforementioned products. I hope this post was informational, or, at the very least, somewhat entertaining.