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Imagine a channel on which you could watch the following shows:

  • You’ve Been Prom’d, which describes the makeovers of high school seniors who have won gowns, shoes, hair services, and makeup to wear to their proms.
  • Shoe Hoarders, a show that goes into the closets of people who amass more footwear than seems possible.
  • Nine and the Gang, about a group of women, each with different styles.
  • Shoe Fix, featuring suggestions on ways to clean, maintain, and preserve shoes so that they last for years.
  • You’ve Been Schooled, in which students get lessons on what it means to participate in the fashion industry.
  • Confessions, which allows celebrities to talk about their favorite outfits and how they wore them.

Now guess what sort of channel it is. If you guess Oxygen or Lifetime, it would be understandable—but it would also be wrong. In an effort to focus its advertising dollars precisely on people who love shoes (and who bought 548 million pairs of non-sport shoes last year), Nine West is creating its own web channel, http://www.channelnine.com, to air original content, all about shoes. Each show is professionally produced, with the feel of the reality shows that are so popular today.

The goal of this dedicated channel, according to the president of Nine West’s parent company, is to “rewrite the rules of fashion marketing so it’s not just about a shoe, it’s about a conversation.” Accordingly, the programming on Channel Nine will be cross-promoted with more traditional advertising routes. For example, the women in Nine and the Gang also feature in print ads, and pedestrians in major cities might encounter a Nine West representative who invites them to issue their own Confessions about their shoes.

Source: Elizabeth Olsen, “A Channel on the Web Devoted to Shoes, for Those Who Can’t Get Enough,” The New York Times, August 20, 2012.