Brand this

A little intro rant:

Have I ever mentioned how sick I am of rampant, obvious marketing ploys in TV, film, mass media and life itself? Must everything, including the air that we breathe, now be a big, fat “brand”? (“Going forward, let’s work on positioning oxygen as a trend-setting product.”) It’s out of control and the fact that marketers are the most valued employees in many fields is a sad, sad commentary on our society. End of rant.

In related news: Is it me or was the shilling for Macy’s on Project Runway last night particularly shameless? Yeah, we get it: the “world’s largest department store” sponsors the show, but isn’t it

bad ruffles

bad ruffles

enough have a “Macy’s Wall of Accessories” prominently featured in every show?  I guess not because last night there was a Macy’s Challenge spearheaded by a slick, overly perky Macy’s marketing executive.  When she and Tim G. (who must feel a twinge of something whenever he’s forced to spout the requisite marketing babble) were explaining the challenge’s particulars to the designers, it sounded as if they were reading straight from ad copy: “The best thing about the INC brand is that it’s only available at Macy’s!” Stupid, nonsensical ad copy.  I miss Bluefly.

The competition: two-person teams each design a pair of looks for Macy’s INC line, using the color blue. The winner gets to create a holiday outfit that will be sold at select Macy’s stores and online. The designers seemed delighted. Really? Is that a dream come true for any aspiring designer? It is, apparently, for Christopher who says that he would love to have one of his garments seen by so many people. Fair enough.

teal pumpkin

teal pumpkin

The other thing that was notable about this episode was the harshness of the judges’ criticisms. Good to have Michael K. back, but boy, was he mean to Christopher and Epperson regarding their designs, which weren’t great, but weren’t that tragic either. Their striped shirt dress was fine. And the shiny tunic that resembled a “teal pumpkin,” according to Michael, looked very much like something INC would sell.  It was obvious that C & E  were shocked to be in the bottom two.  Heidi jumped right on board the nasty train, especially when it came to addressing the two designers up for elimination: the perennially clueless Louise (whose absurdly ruffled dresses almost deserved the judges’ vitriol) and poor Christopher, who kept bursting into tears. Thankfully the latter was spared.  Jesus, if I want this kind of humiliation, I’ll watch Megan Wants a Millionaire. Oh no, I can’t because one of the contestants killed himself. (Alright, it had nothing to do with the show).

winning look

winning look

Though Carol Hannah and Shirin’s black-and-teal outfits were practically off the INC racks, it was Irina and Gordana’s floaty striped dress and filmy blue blouse that came out on top, with team captain Irina the winner. It was not the most inspiring episode of the season.

Cruelty has been a staple of reality shows since ancient times (Christians Vs. Lions was a big hit), but Project Runway is generally pretty feel-good, or at least not feel-awful. I hope the producers aren’t trying to make it more exciting by upping the humiliation factor. That’s not even a good marketing ploy.


1 Response to “Brand this”

  1. 1 Sympathetic
    October 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you for giving shape to the queasiness I felt after watching this episode of Project Runway. I hope the producers switch course, because the intelligent American tv viewer can get irritated, even with favorite shows. Gosh, I felt sorry for the designers in this episode, with that bloodless challenge.

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