Can Sponsorship Make Smart Fashionable?
Smart, the compact auto brand which as of this summer is now distributed in the U.S. by the world's foremost fashion sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, recently cut a fashion sponsorship of its own, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. Fashion incubator, GenArt, returned last week with its 16th Fresh Faces Fashion show in New York, presented by Smart.
As part of the deal, the brand was displayed on the runway, promoted in media and showcased cars on-site and at the after-party. The auto brand was only recently brought to the U.S. in 2008, but until July of this year was marketed by Penske. In July, Mercedes-Benz took over distribution.
Smart USA has jumped head first into customization, creating its own social network for owners and allowing customers the ability to design their own cars through its smart Expressions website feature. With the added marketing muscle of Mercedes-Benz, it wouldn't be a surprise to see bigger deals around fashion and design for this small car.
“You very rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, but this is where we have a chance to do that,” said Tracey Matura, Smart USA’s new general manager. “We can put the full suite of our marketing efforts behind it, and that’s the good thing about having an organization like Mercedes-Benz USA behind [Smart]. They’re known for marketing. And marketing and advertising opportunities will be first and foremost.”