Jason klarman, Senior VP-marketing and brand strategy

Workin' the Web brings fashionistas into 'Project Runway' inner circle, winning fans along the way

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Turns out fashionistas don't spend all their time in boutiques. They're as fluent in the digital world as they are in Dolce & Gabbana.

That's what Bravo's marketing mavens learned from the first season of "Project Runway." TV ratings were modest for the Emmy-nominated reality show, but the Web traffic was off the charts. That feedback told Jason Klarman, the network's senior VP-marketing and brand strategy, that the core fans were young and tech-savvy.

For the reality show's second-season launch late last year, he latched onto the loyalists with a campaign that featured everything from ringtones of host Heidi Klum's bye-bye catch phrase, "You're either in, or you're out," to video streams of contestant meltdowns.

"We super-served the passionate fan," says Mr. Klarman, 38, a five-year Bravo veteran, "and they evangelized for us."

Mr. Klarman and his team made a deal with MySpace.com to put the first 10 minutes of the season premiere on the site for a week, and they partnered with iTunes for podcasts from show co-star Tim Gunn. An online "Fashion Face-Off" game, along with Mr. Gunn's blog, "Runway" wallpaper and an interactive voting element for the finale kept the faithful engaged.

Broadening for the uninitiated, "Project Runway" was splashed across United Airlines flights, shopping bags doled out on the day after Thanksgiving, billboards, magazines like Elle, Us Weekly and People, cable TV channels and radio. Fashion reviews with Mr. Gunn became part of NBC's Olympics coverage.

Those moves helped turn "Project Runway" into a cable barn-burner, averaging 1.7 million total viewers, up 59% from the show's first season. The finale pulled in 3.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched show in Bravo's history. It improved the numbers from season one by 102% in the coveted adults 18-34 demographic. Season three is currently in the works.

The show has buoyed the network, which recently recorded its most-watched quarter, and helped launch another budding hit, "Top Chef."

"Runway" is "a Hall of Fame player for us," says Lauren Zalaznick, Bravo's president, "and it hasn't even hit its peak yet."

Selected for: 'Project Runway'

* "You're in, or you're out" guaranteed to trigger meltdowns.

* MySpace, iTunes, blogging all designed to build interest.

* Online game, wallpaper, voting brings fans back again and again.

* With 3.4 million viewers, biggest Bravo franchise.
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