LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Fashion brand Candie's didn't have to look far to find its new pop-music "it girl": "Heroes" star and Candie's spokeswoman Hayden Panettiere.
As part of the latest deal linking its teen clothing line to a young female music act, Candie's will help promote the song "Wake Up Call" from Panettiere's forthcoming album from Disney's Hollywood Records.
While financial terms were not released, Hollywood says Candie's will absorb the "majority of the cost" of the single, which will include a multimillion-dollar ad buy on cable and network TV, a print campaign and a music video.
The ad campaign will begin at the end of July, while the song will be released digitally August 5. "Wake Up Call" will appear on Panettiere's still-untitled debut album, which is slated for 2009.
Candie's announced an advertising and marketing pact with Panettiere in February. The brand's incorporation of her music into the campaign follows in the footsteps of its deal last summer with Interscope and Fergie, whose songs "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Glamorous" were promoted in Candie's TV commercials.
The brand also used Hilary Duff's "Wake Up" and "Supergirl" as part of an ad campaign in 2005-06. In the Fergie and Duff ads, the performer received a chyron at the start of the spot identifying her, the song and the title of the album featuring the track.
Candie's has had a long history of using female music stars in its advertising. Earlier campaigns have featured Destiny's Child, Ashlee Simpson, Ashanti, Ciara and the Dixie Chicks.
"When we look for our talent, we always look for the 'it girl' in pop culture," says Dari Marder, chief marketing officer for Iconix Brand Group, parent company of Candie's. "We really feel our customer connects with music . . . it's a great formula."
While best-known to audiences as world-saving cheerleader Claire Bennet on NBC's "Heroes," Panettiere's record deal with Hollywood precedes her prime-time success from the past two years, according to Hollywood Records senior VP of marketing Ken Bunt.
"We had to work within her crazy schedule to determine what direction she wants to go with her music," Bunt says. "Wake Up Call" is a reggae-flavored pop song that was written by Andreas "Quiz" Romdhane and Josef Larossi, who have previously written tracks for Geri Halliwell, Diana Ross, Il Divo and Westlife.
"They gave us a couple of songs, and when we heard this song we knew immediately," Marder says. "It's a girl power summer anthem . . . you can understand all the words and jam with it on the radio. It's the kind of song that really gets in your head."
The print campaign, music video and TV spot will all take place within the context of Iconix's overarching back-to-school campaign advertising Candie's shoes at Kohl's department stores. In the TV ad, Panettiere performs the song at a club in front of a crowd of fans -- all wearing Candie's shoes. Panettiere eventually rallies the audience out into the street.
"What was exciting for us was really featuring Hayden as a musical artist," Marder says. "A lot of people know her as an actress, and in this she's really seen as a top 40 pop star."
The ad will air on "anything that appeals to our Candie's demographic of 18- to 24-year-olds," Marder says, including Fox, the CW and MTV. It is entirely possible, then, for Panettiere's video for "Wake Up Call" to appear on MTV immediately following the ad featuring the song.
The video and commercial were shot by Chris Applebaum, who has previously directed videos for Duff, Rihanna and Jessica Simpson -- as well as Paris Hilton's bikini-clad hamburger-slurping commercial for Carl's Jr.
Candie's has long been known for its cheeky approach to advertising -- a print campaign in1997 featured actress Jenny McCarthy sitting on a toilet in her Candie's shoes. In the "Big Girls Don't Cry" video, Fergie stands by a backyard clothesline and removes a pair of underpants with "Candie's" emblazoned on the rear in sequins.
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