Mercedes ‘Fashion Plates’ Initiative At NY Fashion Week

A stand out feature of Mercedes-Benz’s New York Fashion Week activation was its innovative blending of design style, CSR programme and social media competition for its ‘Fashion Plates’ initiative.


Focused on promoting its new CLA-Class alongside the brand itself, the premium automaker invited a mix of 30 designers and fashion influencers to create their own registration/license plates – custom plates displayed at Lincoln Centre through Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week during the second week of February.


The creative idea behind the project is that each fashionista’s own plate reflects their sense of style and design-philosophy. The theme was to project each plate designer’s sense of ‘fashion forward thinking’.


A raft of big names participated in the programme, including designers Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Carmen Marc Valvo and Jenny Packham and industry influencers like Karlie Kloss, Derek Blasberg and Danielle Nachmani.


The big name designer approach then translated into a consumer-focused competition through social media platforms. Fans of the designers could get their hands on the plates themselves through the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Plate Scramble.


Fashion-hungry consumers simply needed to like the campaign on the brand’s Facebook page (at www.facebook.com/MercedesBenzUSA), were each fashion plate was posted with its original letter/word sequence scrambled along with clues as to who designed the plate.


Players could then guess the plate’s creator and the first 100 winners to identify the plate correctly received the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Plate ‘CAR2URE’ featured on the SLS AMG Black Series.


This CSR-led initiative is run for the benefit of The Foundation for AIDS Research – an organisation that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week supports.


The new 2014 CLA-Class, which was unveiled during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, also received its own Fashion Plate: “RDY2WEAR”. This aims to reflect the model’s design approach as a ‘four-door style rebel’.


The 2013 New York Fashion Week saw title sponsor Mercedes-Benz joined by a raft of other officisal partners including DHL, American Express, Maybelline New York, TRESemmé, Style Network, WGSN, Fiber One Bars, Samsung Mobile, Beck’s Sapphire, The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily and Getty Images.




Tying high end fashion to the premium automotive sector inevitably leads to design links and this license plate initiative is no exception.


Innovative in its idea, some may feel that actual physical outcome (the plates) lack something on the fresh design front as they all essentially follow a similar basic registration plate design formula


Mercedes-Benz uses fashion as one of its key global marketing platforms (along with motorsport and golf) and the premium German car maker sponsors fashion events in more than 30 countries.


It has naming rights for fashion events from New York to Berlin, and also holds official vehicle partnerships with a slew of other major international fashion weeks.


The thinking behind this arm of its marketing strategy is to engage with new, younger premium consumers and particularly to women. It aims to change perceptions of the brand from its previous position as older, male establishment luxury to a fresher, more innovative, design and style-led brand.


Its fashion week rights offer a chance not just for creating fashion content, like the Fashion Plates, but more generally to gain the credibility to do more fashionable things with the brand which range from celebrity launch parties and fashion-photographer image-led campaigns, to simple placing Mercedes models alongside the latest designer clothes, fashion designers and superstar models.




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Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Website




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