BEF ’12: Lessons learned for “Fashion Star” season two

The second season of NBC's Fashion Star, fronted by Louise Roe (pictured), will have an increased focus on the retailers' bidding and buying as well as more second screen elements, delegates at realscreen's Branded Entertainment Forum were told.
October 26, 2012

Fashion Star will increase its focus on the three retailers who appear on show, creatives behind NBC’s brand-backed series told delegates at realscreen‘s Branded Entertainment Forum in New York City this week.

Talking on an ‘Activation: Fashion Star‘ panel moderated by JWT’s director of branded entertainment Mike Wiese, a trio of execs – EJD Productions co-founder E.J. Johnston, Electus exec VP of advertising Laura Caraccioli-Davis and Macy’s senior VP of marketing innovation and integration Joe Feczko – said that research conducted post-season one gave insights into what the audience really wanted from the show.

Chief among the findings were that viewers are primarily interested in the stage of the show where the retailers – H&M, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue – are bidding on the buddy designers’ finished creations, rather than the creation process.

“What we’ve learned is the viewers love the retailers and they really love the bidding and the buying,” Caraccioli-Davis told attendees at NYC’s Sentry Centers. “You really don’t need all that other fancy stuff – we don’t need all that smoke, and people doing acrobatics in the background.”

As such, season two will see “a lot more bidding and buying going on” from retailers, she said, with Johnston adding that viewers wanted deeper insight, desiring to see “how they buy, why they buy, and who they buy for.”

Caraccioli-Davis promised “a lot more second screen” in season two as well, with supplemental digital content covering “the designers, the stores [and] the clothes.”

She also pointed out that Fashion Star was “a little bit DVR-proof, because these clothes will sell out,” meaning that viewers watching on catch-up would not get the opportunity to buy the limited-run finished products beyond the next day after broadcast.

“Literally if you don’t watch it that night, these clothes will sell out,” she said, with Feczko adding: “Fashion is not like wine – it does not get better with age.”

Feczko added that the making of the first season of the show had been an unlikely proposition, since “getting three retailers to play nice was a challenge.” He joked that when all three are on stage, “it’s all just green-screen,” to laughs from the delegates.

“For years we’d all talk about how commerce and entertainment fit together,” Feczko said, “But this was the first time we’d seen that.”

Elsewhere in the session, Johnston said he saw “many other very interesting processes that happen in real life” that could work under the Fashion Star model, which he described as “the moment when a dreamer meets a dream-maker.”

Caraccioli-Davis, meanwhile, defended the show’s mixed ratings, pointing out that although overall viewer numbers fell short of rival broadcasters, the audience featured “a high concentration of women 18-34 in urban areas” – a very desirable retail demographic. “The ability to do the sales that we did got the show picked up for another cycle,” she said.

Feczko added concurred, adding: “We had a lot of customers who’d never shopped at Macy’s before coming through Fashion Star.”

Tuesday’s (October 23) panel session also saw official confirmation of the news, first circulated in September, that presenter Louise Roe (pictured above), star of MTV and CW show Plain Jane, would be replacing model Elle Macpherson as host of Fashion Star‘s second season.

In addition to Plain Jane, Roe was a cast member on MTV’s The City, co-hosted E! Entertainment’s Live from the Oscars, and presented BBC3 single doc Addicted to Boob Jobs.

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.