Pepper MediaMulti-Channel Network (MCN) Pepper Media, that was launched earlier this year, has started an online reality show for fashion designers in association with Megamart.

It has set up a microsite and a YouTube channel for the contest. Contestants need to register on the site and then upload a video stating why they should be selected as the ‘Designer of the year’ on their personal YouTube profile. According to the company, the winner will be able to launch their own clothing line that will be featured in Megamart stores.

The Fashion Designer of the Year YouTube channel only has one video currently, giving tips to prospective contestants on how to make a good video for the contest. It is possible that the company will aggregate the entries of the contestants on this channel. Though the company says it will be an online reality show, it is not clear how Peppermedia and MegaMart will use YouTube after the preliminary selection stage.

Update: The company has clarified that it will upload two webisodes and 5-6 shorter clips a week, but none of the episodes will be streamed live. After the selection stage, there will be challenges that lead to elimination of participants from the show. The popularity of the contestants on YouTube and Facebook will play a role in this decision along with the viewpoints of the judges. However, social media presence will have lower weightage in comparison.

Globally, brands have been using branded channels on YouTube to run such contests as opposed to regular advertising to engage its customers. However, setting up a branded channel and posting interesting content alone does not guarantee engagement. Factors that determine brand engagement include the size of the existing community, the existing views on content, length of the brand content and brand heaviness or lightness in the videos, among others.

Similar initiatives: Jabong had announced ‘India Online Fashion Week’ in partnership with Talenthouse India, with the objective of finding upcoming designers, models, fashion photographers, hairstylists and make-up artists. Flipkart-owned Myntra is meanwhile setting up an incubator for upcoming designers. The incubator will help these entrepreneurs for six months to a year, and may pick up equity stakes for up to a million dollars in the best performing brands. Flipkart-Myntra will select at least 3-5 such brands annually that can also start retailing on other platforms in the future.