Project Runway Struts Its Stuff With L’Oreal, Garnier

Much has changed since Project Runway last sashayed down the catwalk in October 2008, including the series’ home network and production team. One constant as the show heads into its sixth season is L’Oreal Paris, which returns as the exclusive cosmetics sponsor, a role it has held since the show debuted back in 2004.

Per terms of its deal with new Runway partner Lifetime and series creator The Weinstein Co., L’Oreal Paris products will be integrated throughout the sixth season of the competition series, which returns to the airwaves on August 20. In the run-up to the season premiere, the cosmetics giant will be featured in co-branded national print ads and tagged tune-ins, as well as an expansive digital push.

As in seasons past, L’Oreal Paris will also pony up the $100,000 grand prize, which last year was awarded to designer Leanne Marshall. The sponsor will also lay claim to an online sweepstakes offering weekly cash rewards of $1,000 and a grand prize of $25,000 and a trip to New York to meet Runway mentor Tim Gunn.

In addition to its sixth turn as Runway’s cosmetics sponsor, L’Oreal Paris will receive promotional consideration in the series’ new companion piece, Models of the Runway, which leads out of Runway at 11 p.m. Thursday nights.

While familiar faces Gunn, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors will all be on hand for Runway’s Lifetime bow, a new hair care and styling sponsor will be introduced this season, as Garnier replaces four-year series veteran Tresemmé. As with its sister brand, Garnier will be highlighted via integrations, co-branded on-air promos and in various print and digital executions.

Garnier will also get a lift courtesy of its in-house celebrity hair stylist, Philip Carreon, who each week will present viewers with exclusive styling tips.

(Unlike the cosmetics sponsor, Tresemmé did not make the leap to Lifetime, opting instead to stay on board with Runway originator Bravo. Tresemmé was integrated into the fabric of Bravo’s The Fashion Show, a Runway replacement that bowed in April.)

“With their strong brand awareness and equity in the beauty category, Garnier and L’Oréal Paris are ideal integration partners for Project Runway and Models of the Runway,” said Debbie Richman, executive vp, ad sales, Lifetime Networks. “Coupled with Lifetime’s powerful connection with women, their products will reach a large audience on-air and online in a fun, entertaining and energetic way.”

The season premiere marks Runway’s debut on Lifetime, which landed the rights to the program following a heated custody battle with NBC Universal. On April 1, the Weinstein Co. reached an out-of-court settlement with NBCU, acknowledging that it had improperly sold the show to Lifetime without giving the media conglomerate a shot at matching the offer.

The amount paid by the Weinstein Co. to NBCU was not disclosed.

The jump to Lifetime and the new styling sponsor aren’t the only changes in store for the refurbished Runway. Original series producer Magical Elves has given way to Bunim/Murray, which shot season six in Los Angeles last fall.