Fashion Week Sponsors Score Attention With Quieter-Than-Normal Branding

By Anna Sekula February 19, 2009, 12:04 PM EST

Produced by Jack Morton and 180, the publicity stunt for Sony featured very little branding, save for the Vaio notebooks held by the posing models.

Photo: Courtesy of Jack Morton Worldwide

Much like many shows this week, the current crop of Fashion Week sponsors are adopting a low-key tone with their marketing strategies. While the news that McDonald's was setting up shop inside the tents caused a flurry of media coverage, curiously enough, the multinational chain's signature golden arches are absent from Bryant Park. With the exception of Mattel's pink parade of Barbies, this season's sponsors, including Sony and YKK, have found more subtle ways to grab the attention of attendees.

Almost hidden behind a car from title sponsor Mercedes-Benz, McDonald's corner booth, dubbed McCafé, is appointed with modern furniture in gray, green, and pink hues, and artwork decorates the brown walls. Constantly mobbed throughout the day, the coffee spot is fully staffed with servers and brand representatives eager to furnish visitors with free cups of hot (or iced) brew, as well as to explain the new menu of specialty drinks.

On Friday and Saturday, Sony continued the guerrilla marketing blitz for its new Vaio P Series notebook, which previously saw models posing as mannequins in Grand Central Terminal and Lower East Side bars. Atop an unmarked, elevated platform furnished with black couches and chairs, several models carrying the mini laptop posed in stationary positions, much to the curiosity of guests in line for shows.

The stealthiest of all, however, is YKK, which doesn't even have a booth. The zipper manufacturer has instead made an impression with lanyards for the Fashion Week badges every attendee needs to access the tent. Instead of a branded fabric strap, YKK has supplied an oversize, functioning zipper.

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