After a six-year, recession-induced hiatus, “Fashion Rocks” returns Sept. 9, resurrected as New York Fashion Week’s opening act. With a new media partner (Time Inc. replacing Conde Nast), network (CBS) and parent company (creator Richard Beckman and his Three Lions Entertainment, with Ron Burkle and Joel Katz), the show has united with Don Mischer Productions and host Ryan Seacrest for its inaugural live run from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
It also brings a mixed lineup -- including Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Miranda Lambert, Afrojack, Duran Duran, Kiss, Pitbull, Rita Ora and Nico & Vinz -- to a crowded lineup of fall music specials. The two-hour show lands between ABC’s CMA Music Festival and MTV’s Video Music Awards in August and the CW’s iHeartRadio Festival in mid-September, followed by the BET Hip Hop Awards and ABC’s American Music Awards.
“If these types of shows are constantly on the schedule, there’s nothing special about them,” says Horizon Media’s Brad Adgate.
But Beckman promises, “There’s still six or seven acts we will announce. I think you’ll be excited when you hear them.”
In its previous iteration, “Fashion Rocks” was also a showcase for leading Conde Nast advertisers to present custom advertorial content. This year’s sponsors include Aol, Cumulus, L’Oreal, Macy’s, Mazda, Time Inc. and Verizon. On Aug. 1, Mazda unveiled a new microsite on FashionRocksLive.com highlighting custom video content featuring three of this year’s performers -- Duran Duran, Afrojack and Nico & Vinz -- to tease the launch of the automaker’s forthcoming 2016 Mazda MX-5. The vehicle will be revealed on September 3 at the Mazda Raceway in Monterey, Calif., where one of the participating acts will perform a private concert.
With 2014 marketing the 25th anniversary of the Miata, Mazda North America’s VP of marketing Russell Wager wanted to team with acts that could represent the car’s past (Duran Duran) and present (Nico & Vinz and Afrojack.) The program also extends a 2014 music strategy for the automaker that began earlier this year with a TV campaign that featured Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound,” and a March sponsorship of the Fader Fort at South By Southwest.
“Our current MX-5 driver is a little older than our target, so ‘Fashion Rocks’ was a great way to broaden that appeal,” says Wager. “One of the things we’re trying to do with the Miata is position it for someone who loves driving but hasn’t stepped up to the performance luxury brand yet.”
Mazda will also be heavily featured in a custom “Fashion “Rocks” magazine created by Time Inc., set to arrive in mid-August. InStyle subscribers will receive a special 80-page “Fashion Rocks” magazine bundled with the September InStyle issue.