Max sets aside Rs40 crore to sponsor Elite Model Hunt contest

Teenagers and young adults are powering sales growth at Indian fashion retailers and are also among Max’s fastest-growing customer base


Max is looking to boost its popularity among teenagers and young adults, especially in smaller cities.
Max is looking to boost its popularity among teenagers and young adults, especially in smaller cities.

Bengaluru: Max, India’s largest value-fashion brand by revenue, said it will invest Rs.40 crore over the next five years to sponsor the Elite Model Hunt, in an attempt to boost its popularity among teenagers and young adults, especially in smaller cities.

Teenagers and young adults are powering sales growth at Indian fashion retailers and are also among Max’s fastest-growing customer base. The Elite Model Hunt contest is open only to participants aged 16-22.

The move works well with Max’s shift in strategy in mid-2015 of expanding into tier-II cities. The brand, part of the Dubai-based Landmark Group that is also the parent of Lifestyle International, had said last year that it would open 30 stores every year and shortlisted 25 cities where it planned to open its second or third store. Max has over 150 stores in 55 cities and aims to have 175 stores by the end of the financial year.

While traditional advertising is helpful in increasing sales, events such as the Elite Model Hunt will help Max build a strong brand over the long term, Vasanth Kumar, executive director of Max said in an interview on Wednesday.

“The Elite Model Hunt will help us grow our brand by word of mouth among our target customer base,” he said.

Elite Model Hunt is an international modelling contest that began in 1983 and sees participation from 30 countries, according to its website. Winners from the contest in India, to be held across six cities over the next month, will participate at the international level.

Partnering with Elite Model Look—an agency that launched renowned supermodels such as Gisele Bundchen and Cindy Crawford—might at first glance seem completely at odds with Max’s image as a value fashion brand. But Kumar and Marc Robinson, franchise holder of Elite Model Look India, dismissed those concerns.

“There’s a strong need among designers to find new models and by tying up with Max we get access to a new customer base outside of the metros. The contest fits in with Max’s image to be an aspirational brand,” said Robinson.

Of late, some other companies have also partnered with fashion event organizers to boost their brands. Online marketplace Amazon India sponsors the Amazon India Fashion Week.

Max, however, said its marketing efforts with the Elite Model Hunt are aimed mostly toward young shoppers in small cities.

“For any brand, owning a property like this, or the IPL or the Lakme Fashion Week, is a good idea. It sends a consistent message and if the property grows well and becomes popular, it is much better than purely spending money on advertising,” said Harminder Sahni, managing director, Wazir Advisors.

“Many companies do it but to invest in a property like this requires commitment. For somebody to make a commitment for five years, very few companies are able to do that so the benefits are multiple and manifold,” he added.

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