Air New Zealand Fashion Week and Impact PR
As published in Pro PR Magazine (Autumn/Winter 2008)
"When Air New Zealand Fashion Week takes place, a city is transformed and fashion industry inspired. Fashion Week provides a forum for New Zealand’s leading fashion designers to take centre stage, showing their Autumn/Winter collections to the buyers and media of the world.
When Impact PR was appointed to manage the public relations for New Zealand’s premiere fashion event – Air New Zealand Fashion Week (ANZFW), they knew it was a huge task. With the event already in its seventh successive year, Impact PR needed to devise a plan that would further extend the extraordinary success already achieved by the event in previous years. Confident that they could heighten the profile of the already prolific event, Impact PR developed a comprehensive public relations strategy, catapulting the event to a truly international level.
With the 07/08 event touted as “the best New Zealand fashion week ever”, Impact PR Directors, Fleur Revell-Devlin and Mark Devlin, are understandably proud of the results they achieved. While a typical perception of the event is that it takes place over a single week, Fleur Revell-Devlin says the work began long before the launch party and extended well beyond the final show.
“The sheer scale of the event presented a considerable challenge for our agency – in generating over NZ$50 million worth of media coverage for ANZFW our ability to maximise each media opportunity was stretched as far as it would go. Almost immediately after securing the account Impact PR started identifying opportunities for early coverage to create hype and excitement in the build up to the event.
Targeting a broad range of media including fashion, design, lifestyle, consumer, business and trade with newsworthy angles maximized the potential exposure of the event, both nationally and abroad. Impact PR also approached high profile international media to attend Air New Zealand Fashion Week.
The final media contingent secured was nothing short of spectacular by previous standards, and included: French Elle, Taiwan Vogue, InStyle, U.S. Elle, and Paper, to name a few. Not just satisfied with securing mass-media coverage for the event, Impact PR recognized the value of celebrity and opinion leader endorsement, especially in an industry where image counts for everything.
The Agency secured attendance from high profile celebrity stylists, including L.A. based Britt Bardo, for the duration of the week. With Britt’s client list reading like a who’s who of Hollywood, Impact PR recognized the incredible opportunity to get New Zealand fashion creations onto the backs of the world’s most photographed women. It worked too- with Ms Bardo confirming to local media that after viewing top young designer Cybèle’s catwalk offerings, she planed to style hip Hollywood actress Kate Hudson in one of the stunning creations.
The agency then further leveraged Ms Bardo’s endorsement by securing interviews with her across nine different key media outlets. Impact PR ran a highly effective media centre during Air New Zealand Fashion Week. The media centre provided a space for media to file stories, conduct interviews and watch Air New Zealand Fashion Week shows remotely. The Impact PR team was responsible for looking after all media and was available to answer questions, provide information, liaise with international visitors and oversee media interviews.
Air New Zealand Fashion Week is first and foremost a trade event, but while ultimately designed to maximise potential export opportunities, the week is funded almost entirely on sponsorship and has certain responsibilities to fulfill. Fleur Revell-Devlin says her team had to carefully balance the media coverage to also satisfy the commercial value expected from the generous event sponsors.
It was essential to not just generate volume of coverage to meet sponsors objectives but also ensure the media portrayed the event in the most positive light possible – ironically the key to this was developing existing relationships with a small group of hand picked media who rewarded our efforts through consistently positive coverage,” she says. Air New Zealand Fashion Week Managing Director Pieter Stewart was delighted with the feedback received about the 2007 event from both partners and attendees.
“The calibre of this year’s event is testament to the investments made by designers, media and buyers alike to make Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2007 a fantastic success.” The extraordinary coverage that was received had a very positive flow-on effect for Impact PR, dramatically raising the profile of the agency and reinforcing their position as one of New Zealand’s premiere public relation firms."