Birds of feather flock together. It’s very simple; as a professional you collaborate with like-minded people. I’m not talking about ‘working with like-minds’ because not everyone’s as lucky to land the perfect job BUT when you’re looking to create co-brands or find sponsors, then you choose intelligently. Especially when your business is fashion and appearances, establishing the right oomph and creating the right mood is as important as it is to have candles on a birthday cake.
Two things are important to fashion: style and good design, which is why Mercedes Benz makes such a cool sponsor for so many fashion weeks across the world: New York, Berlin, Beijing, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Australia etc. Fashion weeks and hot cars are like apples and spice and it’s surprising why Porsche in Pakistan hasn’t stepped into the fashion week arena yet.
However, out of all brands sponsoring both the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week as well as Fashion Pakistan Week, some stand out whereas blend into the background or stick out like a sore thumb (like the washing machines we saw at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week early on).
Sunsilk has been a title sponsor at the PFDC’s fashion week since the very beginning and while the Sunsilk logo has always been visible in the backdrop, the recent inception of the Sunsilk Lounge and designer shampoo bottles has taken the collaboration two steps further. This season in Lahore, four different lounges were set up with varying themes designed by four anonymous designers. Guests at fashion week were asked to guess the designer, while the lounge offered hospitality in terms of a photo booth and refreshments. The bottles with their designer signatures, we are told, will be released for retail soon. I think it’s a great way to connect the people who watch and end up wearing fashion, with fashion week. The lounges looked good, added to the aura at Lahore’s Expo Centre and made an impression. But here are two more ideas that Sunsilk can look into:
1. In Miami in 2010, Sunsilk handed out more than 97,000 samples of DeFrizz Straightening serum and other haircare products from fashion week cabanas as well as Sunsilk kiosks all over the city, connecting the event with the people. Street samplers raked in hundreds of entries into a national promo offering a trip to Fashion Week in New York. In addition, Sunsilk “Hairapy” experts provided commentary on the hairstyles seen on the runways to the show’s daily newsletter. Sunsilk needs to take shampoo into hair styles, as the looks at fashion week are as important as the clothes. Case in point: MAC Cosmetics’ involvement in London Fashion Week or Toni & Guy with the Hair Meet Wardrobe initiative. More of that, please.
2. Instead of handing out large, A5 size photographs, pictures should be taken and given away in customised, smaller magnetic frames that can go on peoples’ fridges and act as a constant reminders to the experience. While many brands (like Abercrombie and Fitch) position very hot and shirtless hunks in their stores, to be photographed next to (imagine the teenage crowds they draw in) fashion weeks booths in Pakistan can at least position one or two celebrities. How is a solo picture ever fun?
Moving on, there’s Pepsi. While I am not a Pepsi drinker, the huge stiletto installation made from Diet Pespi cans was a conversation starter in the lounge. That was last year. This year, however, Pepsi chose to set up a photo wall. I think we’ve had enough of photo booths at fashion week (even Toni & Guy had one at Fashion Pakistan Week in Karachi) and Pepsi needs to innovate next season. Another cool installation would be welcome but serving complimentary Pepsi on ice would be better. Disposable bottles don’t really cut it, do they? International fashion weeks usually have boozy sponsors and no one buys the booze. It comes on the rocks, free of cost!
There are lessons to be learnt (and unlearnt) from logos and sponsors flaunted on media walls and, uff, red carpets. That really needs to stop until one fashionable logo can be created. But when a million go on the wall – pharmaceutical companies, media partners, shoe brands, etc…it all becomes one big, ugly mess. Ruins the red carpet.
L’Oreal rolls out one of the best red, or should I say ‘black’ carpet at the PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week in Lahore. It’s black and gold, clear of the usual clutter and sets a glamorous mood with its colouring. But while L’Oreal advertises new products during the shows incessantly, they don’t even offer a single sample to the audience, which leaves everyone plain bored. If you’re marketing your new mascara range then at least put a sample in a goody bag so people can see, use and write about the product. Don’t waste the opportunity.
Back to PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, I’ll sign off with a memory of the fabulously decadent Magnum Bar in which you could build your own ice cream in a few, creative steps. Chocolate heaven equals a much need energy spike through sugar, good taste and coolness. Sweet. Very sweet 🙂