Hearst Tweaks 'Ultimate Prom' Series for Recession | Adweek Hearst Tweaks 'Ultimate Prom' Series for Recession | Adweek
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Hearst Tweaks 'Ultimate Prom' Series for Recession

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Even the prom isn’t immune to the recession. Hearst’s MyPromStyle.com has recently launched a second season of its Web series The Ultimate Prom—though the show has been revamped this year in part to reflect the brutal economy.

Last year, the show tracked group of New York City teens preparing for the prom, focusing particularly on their flashy designer fashion. But this year, the eight-episode series, which premiered a few weeks ago, is deemphasizing glam in favor of ingenuity and talent. The series is pitting three seniors from Manhattan’s High School of Fashion Industries in a competition to create design an original, lower-cost prom dress.

“Last year we highlighted prom fashion, but it was much more about living vicariously through these kids’ prom,” said MyPromStyle.com editor in chief Tammy Tibbetts. “This year we really wanted to take it to another level and tap into teens love of do-it-yourself projects and creativity. It’s much more like a reality show.”

That’s not to say that The Ultimate Prom has been stripped of star power. The winning dress design will be worn by music artist Kat DeLuna of Universal Motown Records, which is once again Hearst’s partner in producing the show. Other Universal Motown artists are set to appear in episodes this season, including Shontelle, Ryan Leslie, Suai and Tina Parol.

Besides MyPromStyle.com, The Ultimate Prom is being distributed on Universal Motown’s site, as well as YouTube and sites across the Hearst Teen Network—including Seventeen.com and Cosmogirl.com. In its first season, the show garnered over 285,000 video plays, and the first few episodes this season have generated 10,000 plays to date.

Hearst has signed on Johnson & Johnson’s Clean & Clear and Handcock Fabrics as sponsors of The Ultimate Prom. Clean & Clear—a regular advertiser on MyPromStyle.com--is running traditional banner and video ad placements, while Handcock‘s products are being used by contestants during the weekly Webisodes.

Plus, the winning design pattern will produced by the fabric and apparel retailer Simplicity Patterns and then sold nationwide. “We’re really launching a career here, giving one of these teens an amazing professional start,” said Tibbetts.