Procter & Gamble launched its new Tide and Downy Total Care detergents last night under the orange glow of the Empire Hotel’s neon sign. Some 125 guests packed the hotel’s rooftop pool deck overlooking Central Park for the kickoff of the company’s $60 million fashion-centric marketing campaign.
“This is our biggest product launch ever,” said Kash Shaikh, a spokesperson for P&G. “We’re transforming fabric care into fashion care by promoting the idea of looking good by taking care of your clothes.” And to elevate the concept of fashion care, P&G has enlisted a host of stylists and so-called fashion experts to market the new lines. Project Runway's Tim Gunn will dole out fashion tips online, and June Ambrose, Jorge Ramon, and Charla Krupp will be featured in other advertisements.
All of the fashion advisers were on hand for the event, as were designers Laura Bennett and Cristina Ehrlich. The group produced a mini fashion show featuring Wihelmina models wearing fall trends. Several laminated plaques bearing each stylist’s trend picks for the fall lined the front of the catwalk.
Opposite the small stage, BMF Media Group aimed to capture the sophistication of the campaign with a row of cabanas housing brown wicker lounge chairs topped with white linen pillows. Fronting each of the five shelters, plasma screens played a video loop of the Total Care promos. Meanwhile, florist Deborah Herbertson played off the classic Tide and Downy brand colors of orange, blue, and white with bouquets of peach-toned and white roses as well as deep purple irises, which sat on nesting tables in the cabanas. Herbertson also used empty Total Care bottles as vases for calla lily and dahlia arrangements near the pool on the top level of the deck. To the side of the pool stood a frosted glass wall with several backlit silhouettes of posed models.
One of the most striking design elements was the bar on the main floor. Baker Brothers Creative channeled Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup cans by placing several rows of Total Care bottles behind frosted plexiglass. The orange lighting emanating from the bar fabricated by Gotham Scenic complemented the towering hotel sign.
“Our overall concept was inspired by the brand,” said BMF’s Bruce Starr. “We wanted to make it very sexy and low key, using the colors and great space.”
Guests took in the cool night air as DJ Jesse Marco spun a mix of classic R&B, rock, and house music. In fact, the party is one of a few marketing events P&G will host in the coming months, Shaikh said. In September, Ann Taylor Loft will also join in the marketing effort with in-store promotions and product samples.
“This will all tie into the upcoming Style 360 for Fashion Week, where we will be sponsoring one of the shows. We’re really trying to bring together the concepts of fashion and fabric care,” he added.