By Paul Pannone
Top eWedNewz story involves a character from TV’s Jersey Shore, the Situation. A deal between FLOW Formal and the “Sitch” is causing a viral tidal wave of publicity spanning across all mediums including television, print and Internet. Details of the deal, fueled by dubious notoriety of the Situation raises awareness for the troubled tuxedo business in its quest to overcome the challenges facing the iconic “tux.
The story appears in major media sources and could be what the doctor ordered for the putrid perception of the tuxedo, opening the door for the main focus of the arrangement; the product. Since TMZ picked up on the eWedNewz release, mention of tuxedos on blogs, television shows and newspapers captures the attention of the decision-maker; consumers, like never before.
Countless Face Book “Likes” on the story and strong, positive statements by major tuxedo business leaders suggest success for the launch that will follow all the hoopla. So far, growing demand outweighs FLOW’s ability to satisfy the interest. So why is there any negativity about the deal?
eWedNewz asked experts in the Wedding Water Cooler what they thought about the deal and some of the negativity. The response from the WWC panel right up to date with today’s market reality.
Wedding analyst, Christine Boulton, told eWedNewz, “The guy is a gossip magnet with a lot of haters, but it still raises the profile of tuxedos overall.”
Boulton, known for her own edgy, straight-forward candor, underscores reality in everything she does. Boulton’s market perception, uncanny ability to find tends and translate them to her clients has earned her a respected place in the wedding business and her peers.
Wendy Hartigan told eWWn, “He is a celebrity. He is young and hip. He is even a “dancing star”. FLOW is in the business of selling tuxedos and if the Situation can sell tuxedos to a younger audience– GO FOR IT! He isn’t a porn star. He isn’t a criminal. And, my guess is there are lots of young women, in high school or getting married, that think he is HOT.
Celebrities have been endorsing products from milk to jeans for decades. The media was all up in arms when Brooke Shields was Calvin Klein’s spokeswoman ( or girl, as it were). They thought that was inappropriate too. She sold lots of jeans and she grew up to be a functional adult, as did most of the kids that bought the jeans. I would certainly steer a client to this new and edgy type of tuxedo. In fact, I am working on an article about edgy brides and innovative weddings in unusual places, with ‘out of the box’ themes. These tuxes would be a perfect fit. It isn’t easy to find guys wedding fashion that is ‘out of the box’.”
The Wedding Water Cooler is composed of an eclectic cross-section experts with liberal, moderate and conservative views. Professions ranging from national bridal show promoters, top bridal dress manufacturers, media sources, event planners and even men’s formal wear experts, creates a dynamic forum, resulting in creative thinking. The common denominator is open-minded idea sharing and understanding today’s consumer.
Respected wedding and travel expert, Jacqueline Johnson said, “Any product mention is a good thing. At the end of the day you are looking for awareness which will translate into sales. Like it or not both the Situation and TMz have a following and that audience will end up buying what is worn or promoted. Congratulations (to FLOW) on a brilliant marketing strategy.”
Johnson sits on the board of tourism for over thirty Caribbean countries as a valued consultant, marketer and speaker. Other highly successful members of the Wedding Water Cooler includes Steve Lang of Mon Cheri. Lang and Mon Cheri recently celebrated a 20-year anniversary attended by a prestigious gathering of industry notables. Lang weighed into the discussions, paralleling how he leverages star power and how it relates to the controversy experienced by the deal.
“I think it is the right move; the formal wear industry, both male and female clothing, needs a face lift. This is why Mon Cheri is licensing top name talent like Kathy Hilton (Paris’s mom and star in her own right), Kathy Ireland, and is about to announce another new relationship this month with great star power and TV presence. It is also why I have created a 50/50 partnership with one of the top movie executives in Hollywood with 60 movies to her credit, to create new and interesting TV programs centered on the industry.
It is the way of the future. FLOW did the right thing. Years ago movies made the star, it has morphed to reality based entertainment and this is where the young people of today and tomorrow will reside. People do not want to see so much scripted material; they want real life and something they can relate to,” according to Lang.
Lang recently told eWedNewz his business is up 20% over 2010 sales figures and feels it could go as high as 30% by year’s end. Coincidence? How about on the Celebrity end?
Celebrity event designer, Samantha Goldberg, told eWedNewz,” I have to admit, I cannot stomach the show. However, being on reality TV, I work with all types of people associated with industry events. I think FLOW was ingenious in their approach.
Whether or not people like “The Sitch” has no merit as to why this would not work– or that FLOW is “retarded” (Quoted from many if you search the web) for choosing him.
People need to separate what they like/not like personally from their business decisions. How can they bash FLOW (or anyone) for making a smart decision to jump on the bandwagon? Most of the opinions are of those who are bitter, unemployed and watch for things to complain about or critique. Does that mean they are stupid? No, it means FLOW has a great marketing team that’s doing what it was designed to do.”
Celebrity event planner, Samantha Goldberg, accompanied by other members of the Wedding Water Cooler, understand marketing. The panel of experts know how to put aside personal preferences and make solid business decisions for their organizations.
Equality event planner, Marcinho Savant, agrees with Goldberg saying,”As a man of a certain age, I can understand that “The Sitch” is a pop icon and cash cow. Yes, an icon. So, anyone who harnessed the star power of this ‘heart-throb’ figure, while it’s still on “Fire” is a genius! He is, in fact, the only voice reaching out to his audience/demographic, bringing formal wear, and it’s discussion, back into vogue among them. The garments don’t wear him— He wears them well. Appreciate the person or not, the decision is, for the moment, absolutely BRILLIANT!”
For over 11 years, eWNz warned the formal wear business of the impending social changes and how they would eventually affect the tuxedo business. In 2000 the warnings were shrugged off but by 2007, the departure of thousands of formal wear stores left with only a handful of surviving manufacturers to service them– major formal wear sources began to take notice.
By 2009, in the midst of the worse economic climate since the Great Depression, the formal wear business is left with only a few merchandise providers. Rising to the top of manufacturers is FLOW; owned by the financially robust Weintraub Organization.
Specific commitments made by owner, Jeff Weintraub, manifested in the ability to make national news for a boring product like tuxedos– that are at the lowest level of priority in event planning– only solidifies the capacity to make good on all of his promises.
eWedNewz watches every step taken at FLOW, as the rest of the world watches eWedNewz.
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