Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Holidays, Pt. 2

Lord & Taylor is the latest retailer to unveil its Christmas windows, and it was done amid much fanfare, including performances by Emmy and Tony award-winner Kristin Chenoweth and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.

The venerable department store went high-tech, streaming the event online. It also for the first-time sought feedback into the window displays, asked customers, friends and family to share their favorite holiday memories and traditions over Facebook and by sending in letters. Inspired by these submissions, the four Fifth Avenue windows came to life with 12 Christmas scenes set in New York City over the past 50 years. The customer names and stories that inspired each mechanical window scene are displayed in the window for viewers to see.

A video of highlights from the event can be seen at youtube.com/watch?v=PomNmKGU_rA&feature=player_embedded.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Holidays in New York

It’s that time of year again … you know the holiday season is officially upon us when retailers in Manhattan start unveiling their elaborate holiday windows. This year, one of the first out of the gate is Henri Bendel, on Fifth Avenue, which is offering a haute homage to the New York City Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker, complete with beautifully costumed, Swarovski-bejeweled mannequins (from Atrezzo). The Nutcracker theme continues inside the luxurious store as well, where suspended mannequins whirl in a ballet wonderland.

Check out the photos below:

Friday, 22 October 2010

Retailers Keep Upping Ante in Times Square

New York City’s Times Square gains more wattage with each passing day. Teen fave Aeropostale has opened a 19,000-sq.-ft. flagship at 1515 Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets, smack in the middle of the tourist Mecca.

The two-level store is lit up with a 120-sq.-ft. digital billboard made up of two million LEDs. The content varies, but will include images of the store’s shoppers, who are invited to dance with virtual models in The Balcony, an open space on the second-floor. A camera embedded in the screen in the room will film the shoppers and display their images on the storefront billboard about 20 minutes later. That a retailer as savvy as Aeropostale is willing to give up valuable (and very expensive) square footage to an empty room -- one with not a shred of merchandise -- is unusual to say the least.

To read more about the Aeropostale store, click here. And to see more photos, click here.

... But Aeropostale isn’t the only one adding to the Times Square dazzle. On Nov. 9, The Disney Store will unveil its next-generation, interactive store format (see photo on left). The new Disney emporium, at 1540 Broadway, has already started to unveil its exterior.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Toys 'R' Us Times Square’s New Sweet Treat

From the gigantic Forever 21 superstore to the soon-to-open Disney store and Aeropostale flagship, Manhattan’s Times Square is a beehive of retail activity these days. Meanwhile, the store that started it all -- Toys “R” Us -- has a new “sweet” attraction: The Nestle-owned Wonka candy brand has opened its first-ever retail shop on the first level of the giant Toys flagship. It’s bright and wildly colorful and enticing, with its sweet scents and candy theme. Now if only Johnny Depp would make an appearance …

Friday, 10 September 2010

Herding Cats … in Ikea

It’s being called the best retail-related video ever posted on YouTube. I wouldn’t go that far, but it certainly is different. British advertising agency Mother London released 100 cats in Ikea’s store in Wembly, England, and then filmed the results for a new advertising campaign whose tagline is “happy inside.” The YouTube film shows footage of the cats being released and exploring the store.

As for the campaign, along with 60- and 90-second TC commercials, it includes a Facebook-linked competition where users have to guess which pieces of furniture the cats in the ad settled themselves down on, to win the furniture in question. The competition microsite at Ikea.co.uk/cats also features a short documentary about the owners of the cats and a "making of" film.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Wanted: 10 Chain Restaurants that Should Open in Manhattan

It’s no secret that the Big Apple is a restaurant mecca. But I never realized that so many of the nation’s largest and most successful fast-food and casual dining chains have yet to open even one outpost in Manhattan until I came across this list on ny.eater.com:
  1. In-N-Out Burger (A poor man’s Shake Shack but with better burgers, according to some fans.)
  2. Chick Fil-A (A mall classic. And amazingly good value for the money.)
  3. Chili’s (Americanized-Mexican and Southwestern fare.)
  4. P.F. Chang’s (Lettuce Rolls and The Great Wall of Chocolate -- enough said.)
  5. Cracker Barrel (But the company’s signature rocking chairs outside the front door wouldn’t last a day, even if they were chained down.)
  6. Denny’s (Its new Value Menu goes down easy.
  7. Dairy Queen (Of the entire group, this is my personal favorite. Expensive artisinal ice cream and gelato pales next to a Blizzard.)
  8. Krispy Kreme (Actually, I don’t think Krispy Kreme qualifies for this list in that it has already been here. But it shuttered its stores due to poor sales.)
  9. Waffle House (Not too exciting, but always consistent.)
  10. Sonic Drive-In (Of course, those roller-skating waiters would have to be brought in indoors.)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Sugar Cravings in Times Square

I never particularly liked Pop-Tarts. But I think the brand’s just-opened pop-up store in Manhattan’s Times Square is a hoot. It also shows that, with a little creative thinking, how effectively a brand can engage customers in a physical space.

Wrapped in Pop-Tarts branding and promoted with a six-story billboard, the 3,200-sq.-ft. Pop-Tart World is hard to miss. The focal point of the space is a café, which serves some 30 snacks. The menu includes such concoctions as Fluffer Butter (marshmallow spread sandwiched between two frosted fudge Pop-Tarts) and Pop-Tarts Sushi, which is basically a fruit roll stuffed with three minced-up Pop-Tarts flavors.

Visitors can also create their own Pop-Tarts, starting with the basic pastry and then adding the frosting, toppings. and drizzles of their choice. Or, using a computerized vending machine, they can choose among all 23 Pop-Tarts flavors (23 flavors! Who knew?) to customize their very own variety-pack boxes to take home.

Computer screens in the store provide access to PopTartsWorld.com, social media sites and Pop-Tarts video games. Consumers can also buy themed merchandise, and even design their own T-shirt. The store also sells all variety of themed-merchandise. It even has select a Pop-Tarts T-shirt made by specialty artist

The lease on Pop-Tarts World, which is on the south side of 42nd Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, runs through January. Reportedly, executives will then decide whether the store has legs.