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Brandwar at its best

Fashion Week has become a platform for constant jostling between brands that want to bond with the best, Jaydeep Ghosh reports.

fashion and trends Updated: Mar 11, 2008 13:28 IST
Jaydeep Ghosh

The bi-annual Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week organised by the Fashion Design ers Council of India (FDCI) has be come a big-ticket event for brands to encash. FDCI markets the event to prospective sponsors and publicity positioning , and image building are factors that draw heavy-duty brands to the event.

The title sponsor is Wills Lifestyle. But there are host of associate sponsors like Fiama Di Wills, Chivas Regal, Hewlett Packard and Reliance Mutual Fund. These brands spend huge amounts to become associate sponsors.

Then there are brands who don't get associated with WIFW as sponsors but tactfully use the platform to draw mileage from the event. This is "ambush" or "guerrilla" marketing. An ambush marketeer derives some, if not most, of the benefits of a legitimate, paid-for sponsorship, at relatively low cost.

Most of these ‘guerrilla marketeers' tie up with big designers to host their post-show parties. MAC, a premium colour cosmetic brand tied up with designer Tarun Tahiliani and hosted a party on Satur day (March 8) at his studio. Says Sanjeev Anand, VP of a reputed image building firm,"It's a smart move by MAC to be the first one to get the fashion parties rolling."

Belvedere, a vodka brand will play host to two top designers Rohit Bal and Suneet Varma's party on day one of the Fashion Week. With names like Bal and Varma involved, the bash is likely to draw the best crowd.

Even nightclubs hope to encash from the Fashion Week fever. The new hotspot, F Bar & Lounge is playing host to the Belvedere bash on March 12 and Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna's bash on March 14. Industry insiders reveal that while an associate sponsor pays something between Rs. 20 lakhs to 50 lakhs for associate sponsorship title, Belvedere would spend at the most Rs. 4 - 5 lakhs. Nightclubs lure in parties by offering disco unts or in some cases, zero costs to benefit from the media blitzkrieg during Fashion Week. An FDCI insider says, "Big designers can get away with it. There are no contractual bindings on any designer that prohibits him to host a party with whoever and wherever he wants."

Paying millions of rupees as sponsorship fee to events no longer ensures that your brand will get the maximum mileage. Countless events have seen genuine sponsors left in the lurch while their competitors who didn't commit a penny walked away with the prize of brand recall.