2010 BMW 5-Series Gran TurismoEnlarge Photo
When companies play their cards right, sponsorships can yield profitable, high-profile branding opportunities. The Staples Center in Los Angeles is a great example of corporate sponsorship at work; so was Viagra's support of NASCAR. To buff its image as an "aspirational" auto brand, Mercedes-Benz recently began sponsoring fashion week events in places like Miami and Berlin, and last year, New York Fashion Week -- arguably the daddy of 'em all -- was renamed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Not to be outdone, BMW has also launched sponsorships within Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the biggest being its tie-up with the cosmetics line MAC and Milk Studios in the Meat Packing District. (MAC & Milk have been partners for some time, providing artistic support and runway space for new and established designers; BMW is piggybacking on that partnership.) For this month's Fashion Week, which began yesterday and runs through next Thursday, BMW has provided a fleet of chauffeured 2010 BMW 5-Series Gran Turismos to select designers and other fashion bigwigs, including Band of Outsiders, Erin Fetherston, L.A.M.B., and Peter Som. The vehicles will run from the heart of Fashion Week at Bryant Park to the shows at Milk Studios, and whereever else fashion types need to go (e.g. Starbucks).
Having two competitors like Mercedes-Benz and BMW sponsoring portions of the same event isn't unheard of -- just check the current list of NASCAR sponsors. However, we're not entirely sure about BMW's choice in partners. MAC is a brash, edgy brand, known for its outrageous spokespersons like RuPaul and Lady Gaga, who seems somewhat different from the slightly restrained, performance-minded customer BMW typically attracts. But whatever: Fashion Week attendees all have money and they all need cars, right?
On a slightly more somber note, we'd like to offer condolences to BMW staffers, as well as the family, friends, and colleagues of designer Alexander McQueen, who was scheduled to particpate in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and, if we're properly reading the release below, BMW's Fashion Week activities. McQueen was found dead yesterday in his London home, apparently from suicide. He was 40 years old.
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BMW of North America Returns as Exclusive Automotive Partner of M·A·C & Milk During New York Fall/Winter 2010 Fashion Week
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – February 11, 2010… New York Fashion Week kicked off today with BMW of North America returning as the exclusive automotive partner of M·A·C & Milk and its series of shows, presentations and special events. BMW will provide a chauffeured fleet of luxurious new BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo vehicles to transport designers to M·A·C & Milk during New York Fall/Winter 2010 Fashion Week (February 11 - 18).
Now in just its second season, M·A·C & Milk has already made significant strides in furthering the evolution of Fashion Week in New York, by providing designers with accessible multilayered support – from a dynamic space for their shows, presentations and special events to M·A·C makeup artistry and product support. This enables not only established, but also emerging designers to showcase their work on one of the industry’s biggest stages– New York Fashion Week.
“BMW has a rich history of supporting artists and designers, and we’re proud to continue that tradition through our ongoing support of M·A·C & Milk,” said Jack Pitney, Vice President of Marketing, BMW of North America. “Like our partners at M·A·C & Milk, we too see tremendous value in providing the designers of today and tomorrow with the freedom and flexibility they need to share their creative visions and collections.”