The Rise Of Live Branded Content At New York Fashion Week

/ Feb 12, 2016


This week is New York Fashion Week, and the legitimacy of the event is being called into question more than ever as consumers don’t want to wait six months for the clothes to be available in stores. Social media allows instant distribution of new looks, which editors and print outlets previously sat on for months, so Fashion Week has now become a live-digital event.

Similar changes are discernible in the live event marketing arena as a whole. Digital video distribution, powerful smart phones with built-in cameras, live broadcasting, the rise of blogger and amateur-created content, along with social sharing, often elevate a branded event from the local to the global stage; from a live moment into the long tail of digital. In response, brands are creating branded events designed to live both in a specific place and time, but also to reverberate through the echo chambers of digital. Branded events have become branded content. PR agencies have become producers.

Nobody gets that better than Kanye West who, at Fashion Week, performed, dropped his new “Wave” album and usual provocative tweets, all on the same day as his fashion show, which was a PT Barnum-style extravaganza. Last season Cadillac partnered with Public School to airlift a new XT5 onto the runway. In each case, live events are sliced up and served in different audiovisual formats for different platforms – two-to-three-minute videos on YouTube, six-second Vines, stills, slow-mo or boomerang on Instagram, programmed “stories” on SnapChat.

Outside the world of fashion, brands are not only extending live events into long-tail digital, but translating that attention into sales (or donations). Brands are doing thismnot only at their own events, but capitalizing on the events of others. Here are a few examples from recent memory:

The Marathon Walker: Water For Africa used the Paris Marathon to showcase the plight of water carrying mothers in Africa. After generating international press, the charity converted that attention by driving viewers to a donation site, where they could watch a video of the same lady walking to her local well in Africa.

Whatever, USA: Bud Light created a new town for the sole purpose of having a big party in it. Over the course of a weekend, live events and celebrity performances went down on Catalina Island and were pushed out on the brand’s social channels with some content even making their Super Bowl spot.

Nazis Against Nazis: Germany’s Center of Democratic Culture turned an annual neo-Nazi march into a multimedia campaign and donation drive for an anti-Nazi educational program.

Dallas Gas Station:  To promote their remake of “Dallas,” TNT opened an actual gas station in New York at cut-rate prices, leading to blocks-long congestion. Characters from the series appeared in videos promoting the station, adding a fictional dimension to the gas station and breaking the fourth wall.

Dismaland: Last but not least, Banksy’s brilliant parody of Disneyland was not only open to visitors, but played out in a hilarious faux ad campaign. His latest painting also contains a barcode to a YouTube video about treatment of refugees.

Like these events, the way Fashion Week plays out in digital is becoming more important than how it plays out in real life under the tent. This will change the nature of Fashion Week from brand marketing to direct sales and will change the tone from insider-centric to interactive theatricality for digital audiences.

Indeed. live street theater is a cultural meme that is being pushed to the forefront of the digital experience. It’s at the center of Donald Trump’s campaign and the rise of the YouTube celebrity. Its in the way news is reported. The other day, you could watch a refugee being pulled from the Aegean from the head-cam of his rescuer. Just like in “Birdman,” the digital sideshow is becoming the main show.

The actual final asset, product, action or deliverable is the last stop on a long tail of viewer consumption and experience. Ben Stiller’s ongoing “Zoolander 2” campaign recalls the true pioneer of this digital street theater himself, Sacha Baron Cohen. The groundbreaking promotion for “Bruno” and “Borat” is the forefather of all of this. We are seeing the marketing industry follow suit and new media technology like Periscope, GoPro Live, live 360 and virtual reality all seem to be pointing towards a big future for this trend.

I know I am not the only one beginning to wonder if breaking news or historical events like finding water on Mars are actually all just clever brand marketing in disguise.

This post was penned by VideoInk publishing partner, a one-stop shop for branded entertainment. features and catalogs the best branded entertainment campaigns from around the world.

Tags: , ,

Comic-Con Logo

Five Virtual Reality Experiences At Comic-Con

YouTube Logo

YouTube Releases Viewership Data for Political Convention Live Streams

Maker Studios Mickey Disney

Disney Not the Happiest Place on Earth for Maker Studios

Amazon Logo

Amazon’s Cash Flow Increases 42% to $12.7 billion; India...

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!
Kevin Hart Laugh Out Just for Laughs

Kevin Hart Options 10 Pitches for Laugh Out Lound VOD Channel

Notorious B.I.G. Turner TBS

The Notorious B.I.G.’s Raps Coming to Life in TBS Digital Series

Fullscreen Keeping Score

Fullscreen Going to Olympics with ‘Keeping Score’...

Gilmore Girls Netflix

Netflix TCA Wrap: New Motown Series, 9 Premiere Dates (incl....

Life is Strange Legendary Digital Studio Square Enix

Legendary Digital Studios Adapting ‘Life is Strange’...

Facebook Thumbs Up Like

Facebook Q2 Report: 1.7B Monthly Users, $6.44B in Revenue,...

PewDiePie 3-2-15

YouTuber Pew Die Pie Made $8M in 2015

Miss 2059 Origin Story

Anna Akana’s Origin Story for Her Go90 Series ‘Miss...


Dailymotion in Critical Condition One Year After Vivendi Acquisition

Warner Music Group WMG Vadio

Warner Music Group Closes Deal with Vadio (Not Vevo)

Abrams Artists Entrepreneur Magazine

Why Abrams Artists Opened an In-House Digital Production Studio

Kevin Conroy MGM

MGM Hires Univision’s Kevin Conroy as President of Digital...


YouTube and Telemundo Open Pop-Up Space in Miami


Digital Cabana — Peter Csathy and Jocelyn Johnson Talk...

AwesomenessTV Logo Awesomeness

AwesomenessTV Targeting British Youth with ITV Deal

American Crime Story FX Netflix

Netflix Gets ‘Blame,’ ‘American Crime...

Verizon Yahoo

It’s Official: Verizon Buying Yahoo for $4.83B in Cash


Summer Music Festivals and Branded Content

Al Roker

Roker Media Partners with HooplaHa on Live Streaming Originals Slate

Campus Insiders Twitter

Twitter to Live Stream 300 College Sporting Events via Campus...

Comic-Con Logo

Circa Teams with Defy Media’s Clevver for Comic-Con Coverage

International Drone Racing Association ESPN

Drone Racing Gets Dedicated Streaming Channel Drone TV


Amazon and Netflix Alum David Loker Heads to Ayzenberg


CAA Grabs Andrew Graham from Big Frame; Retains Clients as Agent Rep

Machinima Logo

Machinima Takes China with Sohu Partnership

Periscope is Twitter's live-streaming video app

Periscope Adding New Watch and Discovery Features

Transformers Combiner Wars Machinima

Machinima Reveals Voice Cast & Trailer for...


Amazon Unveils 2016 Comedy Pilot Season

Ana Kasparian The Young Turks

The Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian Talks Puke, Vitriol &...

Algorhythm New Form Digital Above Average Craig Benzine WheezyWaiter

What Above Average Plans to Do with $15M in Funding from Turner...

Adam Sandler Ridiculous Six Netflix

Adam Sandler Teams with Oscar-Winner Jennifer Hudson for Netflix...


Video Is Not The Answer (But Great Video Might Be)


Twitter and NBA Partner on Two New TV-Style Shows

BuzzFeed Tasty

BuzzFeed’s ‘Tasty’ Stays Atop Cross-Platform...

Reelio Logo

Reelio Greenlight Serves Up Brand-Ready Influencer Project Database

Kalel Kin Community

Kin Community Coming to Australia