Michael Kors taps Tasting Table to promote its menswear line

Michael Kors is using food to market its new menswear line.

This fall, the mid-tier premium brand reached out to food and drink publication Tasting Table to form a digital partnership with the site’s male demographic as the target. Tasting Table sees about 3 million unique visitors a month, 46 percent of which are male.

The partnership, which was created through a collaboration between Tasting Table’s five-person creative studio team and Michael Kors, came together in the form of a holiday cocktail recipe article that also promoted the Michael Kors Jetmaster men’s watch. Tasting Table and Michael Kors recruited NYC mixologist Joe Campanale to create three custom (non-fruity) cocktails, while wearing the promoted product: the Michael Kors Jetmaster watch.

“Michael Kors realized that many men don’t identify with fashion blogs and websites,” said Tasting Table publisher Amie Deutch. “They wanted to get in front of an audience that doesn’t see or interact with the brand normally, and our audience skews affluent and interested in style.”

Deutch said that while the Tasting Table team was left to do what it does best — food and drink — Michael Kors was on set during the shoot, and the creative team styled the bartender, who was chosen, in part, to represent the ideal Michael Kors male customer. The article, called “Spirited Style,” featured recipes for the article as well as information about the watch. The images were also shoppable — when clicked, they took users to the Jetmaster product page. Also featured as a shoppable item in the article is the Michael Kors striped wool crewneck, which Campanale wore during the shoot.

A clip of the shoppable sponsored article.

Tasting Table has partnered with brands like Samsung and CPG company National Pork Board for sponsored content in the past. But according to Deutch, fashion partnerships are the trickiest to pull off in a way that’s authentic. As a result, the style aspect of the article became a background component of an article about cool cocktail recipes.

“In a way, brands are like awkward teenagers in that they want to be loved by everyone,” said Ashley Brown, head of social strategy at marketing platform Spredfast, and former Coca-Cola exec. “Lifestyle fits both fashion and food, so the brand can infiltrate a circle they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach, and the same goes for Tasting Table.”

Lisa Pomerantz, Michael Kors’ svp of global communications and marketing, echoed the sentiment, saying the brand needed a new platform that would introduce people who don’t run into the brand on a daily basis. Basically, the only people who might see content from Michael Kors on a daily basis is women. Since the ad officially launches for the holiday season Monday, it’s too soon to tell how well it’s performing.

Michael Kors said during its second quarter 2015 earnings call that menswear, while launched in 2002, is in its “early growth” phase, but slated to be a billion-dollar opportunity.

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