by Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist

Fashion Rocks hit primetime last night and brought about the best invention of brand integration since the infomercial.

The show, hosted by Ryan Seacrest and broadcast live from the Barclay’s Center in a two-hour event on CBS television, took dynamite to the traditional separation of church and state between sponsors and content. Brands typically end up with the short end of the stick in live sponsorship TV deals, shelling out millions of dollars to find themselves relegated to a step-n-repeat and their logo on a few trash cans at the after party, which they funded but weren’t invited. IMG_4936

Macy’s, Calvin Klein, Garnier, Mazda, and Verizon received two hours of product integration never seen before on television and walked away with a raised bar to which to set sponsorship programs.

Integration was EVERYWHERE, starting with the host himself Ryan Seacrest. No sooner had the show kicked off with the first of many calls to action to shop Macy’s than a commercial break leads into  . . . wait for it  . . . a commercial of the recently launched Ryan Seacrest Distinction collection available only at Macy’s.


And the hits just kept coming, the first runway show was exclusive Macy’s product with prompts to go online and shop immediately at their micro site. The first designer profile was Tommy Hilfiger, which is sold exclusively at Macy’s and Tommy Hilfiger stores in the US. Calvin Klein Jeans and Underwear, also a sponsor, received an endorsement by Justin Bieber who proved nothing came between him and his Calvin’s by stripping down to his briefs. Fans took the twitter in droves and of course the screen prompted: Shop the Show at where Calvin Klein was set up to shop.bieber and lara.001

Macy’s has a great legacy of integrating fashion and music to produce epic events. We are thrilled to be a partner in this spectacular return of Fashion Rocks . . . Fashion Rocks will curate the best of fall fashion – clickable to buy in real time – to the beats of some of the biggest musical acts on the planet!

Martine Reardon
Chief Marketing Officer, Macy's

Thrilled indeed. Reardon and Macy’s walked away the real winner of the night receiving their best TV promotion since the launching of their Thanksgiving Day Parade. Macy’s Fashion Rocks print ads flooded the September issues, and Macy’s fall TV spots were featured in almost every commercial break of last nights show including a new denim nation spot.

fashion rocks Macy's Ads

And before you go thinking it was only the Macy’s show, other sponsors received equal billing. Mazada’s MX5-Miata was a prop in a featurette on the musical acts who actually spoke about Mazda as well a segment where fashion model turned surprisingly excellent commentator, Joan Smalls, stroked the fire engine red convertible on the red carpet.


The fashion in Fashion Rocks was given credibility with three designer segments and keeping in true rock-n-roll style featured May|December hot chick pairings. It would have been nice to see a female designer involved such as Rachel Roy, but alas such is television.

Fashion rocks designers

The show, produced by Three Lions Entertainment and their CEO Richard Beckman, had originally been linked to Condé Nast where Richard previously worked and started the show prior to parting ways with them in 2009. He wisely gained access to the right of Fashion Rocks and re-launched the property this year as we profiled in a previous story. In September a Fashion Rocks InStyle magazine supplement was distributed by Time Inc., who incidentally was also given air time last night in a profile on the magazine’s relationship with music.  Without the handcuffs of a publication, Mr. Beckman was able to give the sponsors what they want, a blend of church and state rather than being a simple checkbook.

Did the scales tip too far in favor of the sponsors, perhaps, but it was their checkbook.  And as Ryan signed off by saying adieu and that Fashion Rocks will return next year there may be a chance to strike a balance.

Sponsors get in line.

macy's landing page fashion rocks.001

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