NotebookMarch 1, 2007 By: American Salon Staff American Salon
Brandspeak is spoken 24/7 throughout the city and is most visible in Times Square. No matter where you look, you'll see digital billboards, jumbotrons and interactive kiosks. Locals and tourists alike get caught up in the storytelling going on along the "crossroads of the world" not to mention on 42nd Street where state-of-art theaters, high-rise media headquarters and culinary stops (don't miss Cold Stone Creamery) vie for their attention. Major brands know how to keep extending their products and attracting new consumers. Take a peek into Louis Vuitton on Fifth Avenue or the Prada boutique in SoHo. ESPN Zone and The NBA Store created engaging and ultimate environments for those with a penchant for sports. The idea is to create theater or provide an interactive environment that's fun for everyone but also moves product out the door. Hershey has a flagship store in Times Square. So does Toys "R" Us—children can ride a Ferris wheel inside or watch an employee perform magic tricks. Beauty brands have gotten in on the act, too—check out the Wella Studio at Rockefeller Center. But what does it take to offer a bit of theater? It takes unsuspecting design from a visionary mind, interactivity for in-store to online engagement, customization for one-of-a-kind product ideas and historical icons that can be remade into modern day collectibles. A few attractions worth visiting:
M&M World at Times Square: First, you're bombarded by the M&M colors and logos. Multiple levels and 25,000 square feet of fun include an endless array of colors, initial candies and cute collectibles. M&M showcases its American heritage with a timeline on the first floor, while M&M characters are turned into Big Apple landmarks and ambassadors.
The HBO Shop on Sixth Avenue at 42nd Street: The premium programmer of cable TV opened its first retail shop to showcase goodies from some of its biggest hits, including The Sopranos and Entourage. There are books, CDs and DVDs for every taste. And one can always pick up a few fashionista must-haves from Sex and the City, too.
Coming this year: The National Hockey League and Reebok are joining forces to open the NHL Shop on Sixth Avenue. Uniforms, sportswear, logowear and accessories will be showcased in a multi-sensory experience set in more than 6,000 square feet of space.