Project Runway & L’Oreal, a Seamless Match

Logical yet minimal product sponsorship is a beautiful thing. I know I wasn’t too favorable about Pepsi latching onto Simon Cowell‘s balls in its X Factor sponsorship, but product sponsorship can be done well. It doesn’t really make “sense” in the strictest definition of the word that Pepsi is on The X Factor. As a singing competition show, Pepsi really has no relevance. However, I think they’ve done a pretty good job of positioning themselves in a way that makes them relevant.

But, this is often difficult to do, which is why there are all of those official beverage/car/airline sponsors of big sporting and entertainment events. Usually the sponsors aren’t integrated into the programming and if they are its done rather forcefully. Considering, Pepsi has done a rather respectable job of integrating itself into The X Factor messaging and persona.

Project Runway does such a wonderful job of acquiring and integrating sponsors in a way that makes sense. Let’s walk through them, shall we?

L’Oreal Paris

Yes, the L’Oreal Paris make-up room. The styling of the contestant’s models is without a doubt important. The make-up sets the framework for who the girl they are dressing is and where she is going. Wesee the designers going into the make-up room for consultations and the make-up artists often spend a few seconds explaining the products they are using.

Garnier Hair Salon

Unbeknownst to me, L’Oreal actually owns Garnier, so this partnership makes even more sense. Like with make-up the hairstyling is another critical element to the entire look coming together. On the day of the runway, we see the stylists give a brief demonstration about how to achieve a particular look using Garnier’s various styling products.

Parson’s the New School for Design

This prestigious school in New York is the east coast home to Project Runway. The special Project Runway rooms house the work room, sewing room, lounge and runway.  Not only is it relevant as a background for PR, but Tim Gunn taught at the school and served as the Chair of Design. Accessory Wall

Previous to it being sponsored by Piperlime, the accessory wall was sponsored by And just that little bit of exposure moved from something that I had never heard of, into my consideration set and finally I became a patron. The same with Piperlime. What’s interesting here is that the products are very rarely featured, but still it’s there lingering in your mind, the name of an online clothing site that you should check out.

HP and Intel

When HP and Intel, (Excuse me, do we really need and Intel? After all of those Intel Inside commercials in the 90s, I think we all assume that Intel is in everything now. No?) came on the show I was a little skeptic of how this would integrate especially with more than half the designers choosing to still sketch on paper. It felt like they were taking some of the artistry out of the design show. But the tablets have caught on well, creating a new market for Intel in graphic and fashion designers, helping them do what they do best with a little push from technology. And let’s face it, being able to create a signature pattern using the HP program is just plain cool.


And of course, Mood! Mood is in every episode and because of this show I now know the name of two fabric stores Joann’s and Mood. But what is interesting is that although I’ve never even set foot inside a Mood store, I would imagine that Mood is superior. From Project Runway, Mood has been positioned in my mind as the fabric store for real designers. Where you can get any kind of fabric and make something fabulous. This is the magic moment of product sponsorships.

And of course, in addition to being on the show, Garnier and L’oreal are all sponsors. The $100,000 prize actually comes from L’Oreal Paris, the winning designs are sold on and the winner receives a HP and Intel technology suite.

So what do you think, do these product sponsorships work? Does it take more for a sponsor to be relevant in order for it to create a good promotion?


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