REMEMBER US?:The point of sponsoring a major event like New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is to generate brand ubiquity — and apparently the folks at Mercedes-Benz aren't at all pleased the sponsorship hasn't made them a household name. "There's some sponsor fatigue and, believe it or not, some editors are prone to leave out the fact that it's called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week" in their coverage, said Joe Richardson, manager of brand and lifestyle public relations for Mercedes-Benz USA.
What to do — apart from giving free cars to said editors? Well, to, in Richardson's words, "clear that hurdle," the company has decided to start an online "newsgroup" that will allow registered journalists to download and run photos from fashion week (sorry, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week) for free, on the condition they credit the sponsor. "We want to support journalists beyond being the people who slap their name on the tent walls and call it a day," Richardson said. He said between 400 and 600 journalists have already registered.
And what of the photo agencies that already do a brisk business selling fashion week photos for outlets that don't bring their own photographers? Well, photographer Dan Lecca and his team are thus far cleared to shoot the runway and front row inside the tents, but associate IMG members showing outside the tents have to opt in to participate. (Richardson said it was too soon to name off-site designers who had agreed to have their shows shot.) So far, the photo agencies contacted by WWD aren't particularly perturbed, and one representative equated Mercedes-Benz's move to any publicist providing event photography to reporters. Richardson said Getty Images, which partners with IMG for fashion week, had not objected. "There are plenty of editorial opportunities to go around," he said. Certainly — like Oscar, Donna, Ralph, Calvin, Marc and all those other designers who don't show at Bryant Park. — Irin Carmon