Life Imitates Art for Macys Branded Entertainment

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Federated Department Stores just announced (via news release of all things) that its private label, INC, will sell the winning design from last night’s episode of Bravo’s Project Runway in its Macy’s stores nationwide.

OK, they announced it like crazy during last night’s show, but I do not watch it.

As the retailer continues to expand, it’s interesting to see Federated flying the brand flag in new ways to engage the consumer. They are also launching Unwrapping Macy’s, a reality TV show for a behind the scenes look at the iconic brand.

The Project Runway approach follows the prescription given by Joseph Jaffe’s “Life After the 30 Second Spot.” The book discusses several ways to break through the clutter and engage consumersthe very approaches that are neutering the 30 second spot’s vitality. They include:

Internet: The design is already for sale online and the Macy’s and Project Runway sites are already festooned with each others links and logos.

Experiential Marketing: Get your very own piece of the show at your nearest Macy’s store. There are only “more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.” Something tells me the point of purchase will make the show’s presence clear.

Long Form Content: The online connection between each brand means that Macy’s will share in the benefit of any long form content on the Project Runway site. Perhaps Macy’s is even wrapped into the DVD package. This would fit them into a veritable wardrobe of long form content for Project Runway fans.

Communal Marketing: The show has a big online following..

Consumer-Generated Content: Macy’s goes from consumer generated content to consumer generated products. Fans can connect with someone realizing their dreams. There are some other ways Bravo could fan these flames, but Macy’s benefits from this trend indirectly.

Branded Entertainment: I’m told by co-workers Macy’s brand was loud and proud last night on the show. Mission accomplished.

If you think The Apprentice wrote the play book Macy’s is following, “you’re fired.” The relationship Macy’s has with Project Runway is, er, tailor-made and takes the resulting consumer engagement to a whole new level.

Not bad for a company that already has an annual parade and a movie to its credit.

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Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.

Life Imitates Art for Macys Branded Entertainment
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