Retail marketing offers some of the best opportunities to put properties in the spotlight, so kids entertainment types would do well to read on. Famed US retailer Macy’s has decided to capitalize on its nationwide reach, throwing out its regional event and promo approach in favor of creating a new national Parade and Entertainment Group. Headquartered in New York, the division has been charged with forging more entertainment partnerships and growing the company’s event business beyond its iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade and 4th of July Fireworks celebration.
SVP Robin Hall and VP Amy Kule are heading up the enterprise, and they’re currently on the hunt for entertainment partners to help put on two to three more national events in the next year. And unlike the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which has no link to activity at the retail outlets, these events will tap into every level of store exposure, promotion and advertising available, including in-store merchandising, direct mail products and print and TV ads. To put this potential reach into perspective, the Parade alone entices a crowd of more than 2.5 million New Yorkers to take to the streets of Manhattan, saying nothing of the additional 44 million people that tune in to watch when it airs on NBC.
While she wouldn’t get into details, Kule is currently working with Disney on one such large-scale event for Q2 2008 that will see licensed products landing in Macy’s 800-plus stores. ‘That’s something we haven’t done in the past,’ she says. ‘But we are opening those doors. Our merchandisers are bringing some [properties] to us, but we believe we could make the promos even bigger by adding an entertainment component.’
Plus, the new structure lets Hall and Kule keep an eye out for local opportunities that are ripe for national expansion or that might benefit from cross-promotion with a national entertainment brand. As an example, Hall points to Macy’s Philadelphia location, which houses one of the world’s largest pipe organs, built in 1902. Sesame Workshop has already signed on to help mount a series of kids concerts next spring, and more immediately, the organ space hosts a Christmas light show that attracts roughly 1,000 onlookers an hour. Hall’s scouting for an entertainment tie-in for that area right now to make it an even bigger event.
Hall says there are similar show-stopping assets in every one of Macy’s regions. ‘Those are the places we’re examining, looking at what we’ve got and how it can be bigger and different.’
As for the kinds of entertainment properties they’re looking for, kid-friendly ones are certainly at the top of the list. The name of the game right now, however, is exploring. In fact, Hall is encouraging interested IP owners to contact himself or Kule to discuss viable opportunities.