Trips to the mall have changed significantly since the online shopping has dominated the retail world. Driving visitors to shop at the store requires an additional experience and no other experience drives more visitors to the mall than visiting Old Saint Nick. A typical mall Santa will see over 10,000 children in the six-week work period that is the Santa Holiday Season. A very busy mall could have as many as 20,000 kids visiting Santa.
Malls are reinventing the holiday experience and using brand activation to provide guests with more hands-on engagement.
Brand activation is any activity – whether it’s an event, campaign, or other experience – that gives your company the ability to directly interact with a target audience. When done well, brand activations turn your prospects into brand advocates, taking potential customers through the funnel and transforming them into believers.
Mattel & GGP malls bring you the holidays with Santa’s Toy Factory
This interactive consumer activation allowed guests to interact with some of their favorite Mattel toys before getting a photo with Santa. This experience launched in four cities across the US in GGP centers and delighted guests young and old.
As guests arrive they are welcomed into Santa’s toy factory and receive a hard hat to become one of Santa’s Helpers. They are invited to help test the latest Mattel toys for Santa which include some of Mattel’s most popular toy brands
- The Hot Wheels® Super Ultimate Garage
- The Thomas & FriendsTM Superstation
- Barbie®’s Dream House
In addition to toy testing, kids will get to help Santa design, build and paint toys using touchscreens to complete their creations. Guests have the option to email their creations at each digital station
- Guests are able to create custom patterns for the latest Barbie® fashions at the Barbie® Design Studio
- Choose and build a Thomas & FriendsTM train at the Build Station
- At the Hot Wheels® station, guests are able to choose a car and give it a custom paint job
After exploring the latest Mattel toys the factory guests will get to meet and get a photo with Santa.
Today’s Santa Experience is More Than Just Sitting on Santa’s Lap
Santa’s Flight Academy is a fully interactive holiday experience. In addition to the traditional meeting with Santa Claus, guests have the opportunity to get up close to and interact with Santa’s sleigh’s navigation, power, engine testing, and even try on a virtual flight suit—proper attire to accompany Santa on this 21st-century holiday trip!
To rediscover the magic and tradition of the holiday season, Taubman a premier mall developer will debut Santa’s Flight Academy, a one-of-a-kind, immersive holiday experience, at 12 shopping centers throughout the United States. The Academy combines a giant re-imagination of the North Pole with state-of-the-art technology to enable children to become a member of Santa’s flight crew. Partnering with an elf, each child will help ready Santa’s sleigh so he can deliver presents to children around the world.
Santa’s Flight Academy allows children to “Elf” themselves and becomes a cadet in Santa’s crew. Upon entering Santa’s Flight Academy, each cadet is presented his or her official flight crew badge and immediately recognized by name. Santa’s helpers guide children through the experience of being fitted for a virtual flight suit, helping to inspect and power Santa’s sleigh before takeoff, and other interactive tasks to ensure every present is carefully delivered.
At the end of the adventure, each child steps inside a 22-foot-tall sleigh for an enchanted snowfall dance party before meeting Santa. Children also receive a special gift from Santa to personally thank them for heroically saving the day.
The indoor/outdoor holiday experience at 7 Westfield malls engages shoppers by getting them involved. Interactive elements include a station where kids can design and send their own holiday e-cards, a 70-inch interactive touch screen and more.
Don’t worry – kids still got to sit on Santa’s lap at the end!
Focus on sensory branding to appeal to your customers' senses
Highly immersive holiday experiences that stimulate shopper action, engagement, interest, and mall visits during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Retail displays focus on sensory branding to appeal to your customers' senses. Pleasing colors, subtle holiday sounds, and a fresh pine smell are just some of the details that make magical holiday experiences.
Taubman Centers has also created a distinctive and memorable yuletide décor program for 16 shopping centers around the U.S. The goal was to increase consumer traffic to Taubman malls by enhancing the seasonal shopping experience.
This holiday program has been successfully branded in cross-promotions with Disney’s Frozen, BBC Earth, and Twentieth Century Fox’s The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Peanuts Movie.
At the City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, we created an enticing holiday experience that featured 18-foot wreaths with a 6-foot lantern hanging inside. The theme extended throughout the shopping center with 78 additional lanterns, 4 which treated guests to an animated display of a classic holiday story.
A Branded Lighting Experience At GLAZA
The GES Events team is in the business of creating epic experiences around the holidays. The team partnered with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) to create a Zoo Lights extravaganza for the holiday season. They conjured up a spectacular light show which served as an extraordinary backdrop to family excursions, date nights, and nights out with friends.
Even Harry Potter is getting in on the Christmas Event Action
Launching fall 2017 in selected shopping venues, Christmas in the Wizarding World is a holiday experience inspired by the Harry Potter film series, which will feature beautifully crafted settings and showcase unique experiences sure to dazzle families of all ages. WBCP and GES will partner with premier retail developers to bring the experience to major shopping destinations during the holiday season.
A first of its kind retail experience will be reminiscent of the setting and atmosphere of a wintry Hogsmeade village. Complete with an extensive wand assortment, film-inspired window displays, and interactive elements, the themed shopping experience is sure to be a hit with fans of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.
About the Author
Robin Stapley is Vice President of Design and Creative at GES. With more than 20 years of design experience, including thirteen years with GES, Robin has designed exhibitions and experiences for clients such as Discovery Science Center, Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., The History Channel, and Taubman Centers. Robin manages a team of designers that produce award-winning environments for a diverse list of clients. As project creative director, Robin directs all creative aspects of the design development, production and installation of exhibits. Some of Robin’s most notable projects include Harry Potter: The Exhibition, World Trade Center Marketing Center, and Taubman’s Ice Palace. When he's not busy jet setting for work, he enjoys exploring the many corners of the over 40 countries and three continents he's visited.More Content by Robin Stapley