Big Brands Use Fashion Suites, Studios to Market During TIFF

By Susan O'Neill September 16, 2010, 1:19 PM EDT

Photo: BizBash

With hundreds of celebrities in town, the Toronto International Film Festival presents a massive marketing opportunity. This year, brands like Swarovski and Diesel promoted jewelry and jeans in two private suites, while Variety set up shop with an interview studio and gift lounge at Holt Renfrew, and Aveda marketed beauty items, available at the company's new Yorkville boutique, as part of a TIFF Survival Kit.

“This is an occasion for us to present our most recent pieces,” said Pierrick Marcoux, public relations manager for Swarovski, who styled celebrities for film premieres and parties at the Swarovski Fashion Suite, held at the Four Seasons Hotel for the fifth consecutive year. “We hope to see giant product placement on the red carpet.” Swarovski flew in three trunks of jewelry, including vintage pieces from the archive in Paris, for the event. “We don't call it a gifting suite. We call it a fashion suite,” Marcoux said. “We are only receiving appointments for stylists who are styling celebrities and the celebrities themselves.”

After a one-year absence, Diesel returned to the Intercontinental Toronto Yorkville with an invite-only gifting lounge dubbed the Diesel Apartment, styled by Scott Koch of Spinradius Events. During the festival's first seven days, celebrities could make an appointment to visit the lounge for a jean fitting and pose for a portrait by photographer Raphael Mazzucco. “What's important when we come here is, we bring a good range of denim because we don't want everybody having the same jeans,” said Diesel Canada's Christina Krcevinac. “We have different washes and styles, so not everybody is leaving with the same look.”

At Holt Renfrew, Variety's editorial team interviewed directors, actors, writers, and producers from the Variety Studio set up in the handbag hall at the Bloor Street store. “This is our first year in Toronto, but I actually have been pushing for it for a while,” said Kate Mazzuca, the magazine's director of event marketing. “The Variety Studio is one of our best properties. It's been so successful at Sundance from an indie point of view.” (Footage of the interviews can be viewed online.)

In addition to the studio set, the Variety pop-up included a champagne lounge and suite featuring gift cards from Holt Renfrew, items from Diesel's Black Gold collection, a BlackBerry support desk, and refreshments from Tetrapak. “I hope we can come back and do it again. It's been a good brand partnership,” Mazzuca said of the relationship with Holt Renfrew. “We have the same endemic customer.”

Aveda Canada also got in on the TIFF action, opening an Aveda Experience Centre on Cumberland Avenue with a media day on September 9, and carrying survival kits—containing items like the brand's blue oil balancing concentrate, hand relief, lip saver, and Peppymint breath freshener—for the duration of the festival.

“The Aveda Experience Centre is designed to take the stress out of the shopping experience and provide a temporary escape, even if for just a few minutes,” Ray Civello, president of Aveda Canada, said of the space (which can accommodate workshops and consultations for small groups). “We chose Yorkville because it is the epicentre of errand running and multitasking for busy urbanites. Our Experience Centre provides a refuge from the hustle and bustle with an opportunity to be nurtured and revitalized.”

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