There may have been a marketing opportunity or two that DSW Shoe Warehouse missed with its sponsorship of The Miss America Pageant on ABC on Saturday night – but there weren’t many of them.
The Columbus-based shoe retailer and pageant officials milked just about every chance possible to promote and demonstrate the brand and its products, to talk about feet and footwear, and to make it clear to the millions of viewers that, when it comes to sandals and sizzle, DSW is the place to go.
After being a national sponsor and official shoe provider, this year DSW stepped up to becoming the lead sponsor for the broadcast, during which 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, was crowned the youngest-ever Miss America. And it showed.
DSW provided shoes that all the contestants wore during the pageant. The brand launched a new shoe line, called the Miss America Collection, in advertisements on the show that included a version of the classic, “There She Is,” theme song. Footwear designer Taryn Rose was one of the seven judges of the pageant.
But wait, there was more — much more. Another ad depicted the 53 Miss America contestants streaming into a DSW store so they could buy shoes. An advertorial-type “DSW Lounge” featured past Miss Americas discussing shoe-centric topics such as living out of suitcases and how many pairs of shoes they took on their travels, and had Miss America 1955, Lee Meriwether – also of Catwoman fame – purring, “Shoes have really come a long way.”
Yet … there was still more. DSW’s ultimate win in terms of product placement came when finalists strode onto the stage in their evening wear discussing what co-host Chris Harrison called “taste, confidence and attitude” in fashion.
“”My favorite pair of shoes would have to be my comfy house shoes that are hot pink,” Miss Arizona Kathryn Bulkley informed viewers in a voiceover during her evening-gown stroll.
A few minutes later, Miss California Arianna Afsar talked about her own favorite pair of shoes and concluded, “I’m such a glitz girl.”
With apologies to the late Bert Parks, that was the real music to the ears of DSW executives, who announced the Miss America sponsorship in November 2009: