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Reality of Fashion: Vogue and IMG's Model.Live Online Series

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As ad dollars for print publications have taken a nosedive and the economy continues to suffer, Vogue has teamed up with media company IMG (which has a model management agency and runs fashion shows all over the world) to produce a Model.Live, a reality series following three models in NYC. Per the WSJ: the show "tracks three models as they navigate casting calls, catwalks and airports for fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. The first of 12 eight-minute episodes will debut Aug. 19 on-demand on Vogue.tv, a site that runs advertiser-sponsored videos and allows consumers to buy the featured products." The price of chasing online ad dollars? $3 million, or $31,000 per minute, the paper reports, making this one of the biggest budget online TV projects ever.

The models featured include Madeline Kragh, "a 20-year-old American with cropped black hair, is 'kooky' and 'a little out there'"; Cato Van Ee, "a 19-year-old blond from the Netherlands, is 'polished and sophisticated'"; and "sweet, new kid" Austria Alcantara, who's "16, from the Dominican Republic, with a coffee complexion and long, dark hair, will be walking the runways for the first time this season."

Mid-market chain Express has signed on in a big way as the show's lead sponsor, which cost the company in the "low seven figures." You'll likely be seeing a lot of Express as "the European and American offices of IMG Models will be furnished with closets of Express clothes...During the shows, consumers will be able to click a link to buy the ensembles the models are wearing—or to see how to get a similar look from Express.com." Though the models do not have to wear the clothes. The retailer might have been terribly late in the game on designer collaborations, but this does put it at the fore in terms of big-time strategic marketing. We will be watching whether this translates to Express sales and an increased consciousness about the brand.
· Vogue Models a New Reality Series [WSJ]