Express to sponsor Miss America pageant

Express, Inc., announced sponsor of 2012 Miss America Pageant

In a release issued earlier today, retail apparel chain Express, Inc., has been named the official sponsor of the 2012 Miss America pageant.  The news provides interesting insight into how both brands plan to continue marketing to women.

My own impression of the Express brand is positive, but dated; when I think of Express, I think of the silky geometric blouse I purchased there in 1992.  It was black, teal, and hot mauve, and I loved it.  That’s the last thing I purchased there.  If I were to hear they were retooling their brand, perhaps with help from Victoria Beckham or Lady Gaga, I’d happily give them another shot, if only to see what the heck that would look like.

The Miss America pageant, however, is not one of the partnerships that’s drawing me back in.  I know pageants have a fervent following, but shows like Toddlers and Tiaras have thrown a spotlight on their more objectionable aspects in a “so-awful-I-can’t-look-away” manner.  Is that how Express wants to reach the 20 to 30 year old customer it targets?

The deal makes more sense to me from Miss America’s perspective; they want to focus on scholarship and service, and Express does come with a certain “Working Girl” vibe.  However, as I said before, “black, teal, and hot mauve.”  If Miss America is looking to modernize their image, is this the right way to go?

What do you think?  Will Express’s sponsorship of the Miss America pageant reach women?

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