Friday, August 26, 2011

PR: Good Idea? Bad Idea.

It's time for another Good Idea/Bad Idea.
Actually, it's not, because nothing about this week's Project Runway episode was a good idea, and judging from the responses I've seen, NO ONE thought this week was any good.
Let's explore the roll call of bad decisions.

1.Another Heidi Klum for New Balance challenge. As I blogged last October, last season's New Balance challenge was one of the worst in PR history, and the show itself was disappointing. Bullying, drab fabrics, and the return of past contestants...wait, am I describing this year's HKNB challenge? Because all three of those elements dominated this year, too. I'm not down on New Balance. I've worn their shoes. But HK's line is not really that interesting, despite its pricetag. Certainly not interesting enough for two challenges of a fashion-based TV show. And this year's materials? Denim and suede. Be still, my heart. Just because there is the possibility of a business tie in, that does not mean it should be tied in.

2. That Klum et al. then blamed the designers for uninspired and bizarre results is just exhausting. As Kors would say, "Listen": If more than once you get drab results, the problem probably really is you, not the designers. This is especially true when you consider the public reaction to last season's challenge, and all the ho-hums that came because of the line itself.

3.It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye--or falls down. Designers are not exactly stationary, but asking them to race? I have problems with this on several levels:

a. Sexism. Women can run fast, but on average, men can run faster. And designers would certainly be average across the board. Thus, males have a distinct advantage.
b. Ageism.
c. Safety. Asking inexperienced people to run a race for leadership is simply unsafe. Remember when they had the designers skate? That was silly but only slightly risky. A tottery skater is much less likely to do damage than a non-athlete running at full pace, without athletic supervision. Olivier's fall was inevitable, and the producers should be thanking whatever gods they pray to that it wasn't worse.

4. Finally, in what is supposedly "her" challenge, Klum gets overruled in the judging. Yet another instance of credibility issues in the judging, or at least the presentation of it to the public. Garcia conveniently chooses to judge based on past episodes--it's funny how that form of judging versus judging what's on the runway are interchanged, isn't it? We can't know what else went on during judging (and truly, the editing of the judging this week was weird in itself), but the effect was sounding like Garcia trumped Klum, whether or not that was actually the case.

The fashion itself was predictably bad, and the attitudes worse. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would wonder if Lifetime or another shadowy collective were trying to kill Project Runway.

Here are the current scores, for the curious, for Rate the Runway:
Anthony Ryan 1.36
Bert 3.11
Anya 3.32
Becky 2.08
Bryce 3.18
Danielle 1.71
Josh C. 2.69
Josh M. 2.79
Kimberly 3.29
Laura 2.28
Olivier 2.26
Viktor 3.82

Did Viktor deserve the win? I think so. While I question the type of jacket, it and the dress were clearly well constructed and appropriate for the sneakers, at least from a certain point of view (including mine--I favor a casual dress and sneakers on occasion).
Did Josh M. also deserve the win? No. The dress he won for was attributed to Anya, clearly. He was also praised for good leadership when he demonstrated many judgment lapses. For instance, dowdygate. I have praised Becky's looks on several occasions, and others of my friends have also expressed support for her. I am not "forty to death." Thus, Josh M. not only went out of his way to insult Becky, but he also insulted her legions of fans. I don't care for his aesthetic either, generally speaking.
And why split the win anyway? Viktor had a clearly viable outfit. Other pieces on the runway--Bert's top, Olivier's top, Kimberly's (?) jacket--were acceptable, but Viktor to me was the obvious winner for the challenge as a whole. To give anyone else a share of the win was perplexing, to say the least.

I don't know who all reads this blog. But if any producers come across this entry, please listen--not just to me, but to the vast PR Nation that has been loyal, even through struggles. This challenge was bad. It was bad last year, and it is still bad. Some circumstances of the show are out of your control, but this isn't. If you want this show to continue, and to rebuild a sense of being respected, then you need to take it back to the roots for creativity, not just the designers', but your own.

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