'Marie Claire' sees reality show's branding potential

NEW YORK: Hearst's Marie Claire is utilizing the new reality TV series Running in Heels as an opportunity to build brand awareness with consumers and advertisers.

NEW YORK: Hearst's Marie Claire is utilizing the new reality TV series Running in Heels as an opportunity to build brand awareness with consumers and advertisers.

The new series was expected to air its first episode on March 1 on the Style Network. It follows editors, writers, and interns of the monthly women's magazine as they go about their workday.

“It's a brand awareness [initiative] for promoting the brand Marie Claire to a larger audience, which you can grasp vis-à-vis television,” said Susan Plagemann, publisher of Marie Claire. She added that the series aims to give young women an accurate portrayal of what it's like to work in the fashion business.

Internal PR teams at both the magazine and the TV network are working on promotional launch tactics, such as a premiere party and outreach to national trade and consumer publications. The magazine's Web editorial team will be responsible for an interactive online strategy that includes exclusive video content, weekly quizzes, live Twitter posts, and blog commentary. The team will also distribute a newsletter dedicated to the show and promote the content on MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube.

“We're... doing the guerilla marketing,” said Ashley Parrish, senior Web editor for MarieClaire.com.

The program has been in the works for more than two years, Plagemann explained, so the recession has not impacted the team's initial branding goals. “I think it would be fabulous if we saw an uptick in terms of what we're doing on the newsstand, but there's great volatility in that market,” she added.

Suzanne Kolb, CMO at Style Network and E and GM for E Online, said the network wants to expand its women audience base, bring in new advertisers, and keep current ones happy.

“We thought something we were missing was a great perspective on working women,” she said. “[The show] is appealing to advertisers. It's interesting content... and does present a certain degree of escapism.”

Working with Marie Claire, she said that the network is reaching out to media for the launch, and it plans to continue to develop that outreach throughout the season as stars develop.

Neither company would disclose the marketing budget.

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