Macy’s Gets Active to Draw Millennials to Stores

In an effort to attract a younger audience, Macy’s will introduce a wider array of athletic apparel to its stores this month.  Brands will include Nike, Under Armour and the North Face, among others.

“We are working with the best brands in the category to bring our customers exciting merchandise that will serve their athletic interests in all endeavors — from the yoga studio to the weight room, to hiking and rock climbing,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chief merchandising officer.

It’s no surprise that the department store saw an opportunity for growth in the category, as athletic apparel is key among Millennials, who are already purchasing two to three times more clothing than previous generations.

Further, athletic apparel is no longer just for working out.  These days, Millennials want to look good in their athletic gear while at the gym or running errands, making it “lifestyle” apparel, more than anything else.  This category shift has been also a driving force behind the success of Lululemon Athletica, the third most successful U.S. retail store in 2012.

Macy’s introduction of additional athletic brands will also include kiosk technology to further create a bridge between in-store and online shopping, allowing shoppers to find any brand in any store.

Feature Photo Credit: spafinder.com

Big Brands Push The Limits Of Social Media

With Facebook and Twitter becoming old news in the social mediasphere these days, brands are looking forward to that next horizon in hopes of luring in new consumers and cementing their status with early adopters and hipsters the world over. Dunkin’ Donuts is moving quickly to leapfrog their competition with their embrace of Twitter’s Vine service, offering a full commercial made from those viral 6-second videos. Adweek explains:

The fast-food chain will actually peel one second off its Vine clip to fit into the network’s five-second billboard ad unit, which appears full-screen between segments during ESPN programs. Dunkin’ Donut’s animated billboard tonight will feature a latte that flips a coin to signify the start of a football game. It’s one of four versions that ESPN Monday Night Countdown viewers will see throughout the 16-game season.

Meanwhile, the time-sensitive platform SnapChat is riskier waters for brand leaders, especially considering its reputation for enabling sexting amongst the young crowd. But adventurous retailers such as Karmaloop and Taco Bell are undaunted,

Given that Snapchat’s roughly 8 million users are turning it into the digital equivalent of American Pie, Megan Knisely, Karmaloop’s marketing director, said she’s willing to let her brand occasionally show a little skin to get the attention of modern day Stiflers.
“Our snaps are not for the faint of heart—you got to be ready for a little bit of boobs and butt,” said Knisely. “We’ve toyed around with a little bit of nudity, but nothing hard-core. We have played up the fun, sexy side of things.”
In just a few weeks of participating on the platform, Karmaloop has attracted more than 2,000 Snapchat “friends” while regularly sending them—besides provocative pics—product shots for new clothing lines. This month, the merchant will test Snapchat-exclusive coupon codes to see if the app drives actual sales.
“Social media is a very important piece to our marketing,” Knisely said. “That’s where our customers are.”

Only time will tell if this new risk taking will extend to more venerable brands like Disney or Walmart, but as social media becomes more ubiquitous in every aspect of our lives, advertisers are sure to follow.

-via Adweek here and here.

Test Drive for McDonald’s Happy Table

Venturing into new territory, a McDonald’s in Yishun, Singapore is testing driving a new form of in-store entertainment with the Happy Table. With the help of NFC (near field communication) stickers placed on the underside of the table, DDB Group Singapore is bringing a new playing field for games to the restaurant.

As shown in the video, people, in this case children, can use smartphones to communicate with the NFC stickers to play games across the table. A whole new world of gaming becomes easily accessible and unveils another excuse for families to linger a little longer in the restaurant, maybe to grab one more drink while they’re hanging out. And while I’d like to think such a game might allow for more peace at the table, I can’t help but wonder how this pans out when the number of children outnumbers the number of smartphones available in Mom’s purse. But I digress.

The simplicity of this technology, from the installation of simple stickers to the basic methods of playing the games, make the Happy Table seem like a no-brainer. Once this pilot program at the single location ends, rollout plans are in the works to spread to more McDonald’s across Asia. How long with it take for the Happy Table to cross the pond to the states? No dates confirmed as of yet.

NFC has not hit mainstream USA, though with every new iPhone or latest mobile phone release, people anxiously await for NFC capabilities to be incorporated. However, it’s easy to see that NFC is drawing closer and closer on the horizon. An NFC-driven concept like the Happy Table could easily be translated into any number of ways. Perhaps, Barnes & Noble could incorporate NFC to its play tables at story time or Starbucks could implement simple games into its tables, with varying games that could appeal to children or to the procrastinating college student taking a study break.

Along those lines, why not have these NFC stickers strategically-placed by the sitting areas in malls, near chairs/tables placed for resting in retailers, or at the beverage station in a convenience store etc, all with the purpose of quick games to increase engagement with their surroundings, when people might otherwise disengage into Facebook posts or their own games or texting their friends. Because at the end of the day, it’s the engagement that will keep your store/product/brand top of mind and keep them coming back for more.

Credits: Youtube, DDB Group Singapore, FastCo