Playing with naked women – Harrod’s and Selfridges
Recently I posted an entry about Harrod’s “interactive” windows and lambasted them saying that three window displays with free lollipops ain’t gonna make people spend more there or “feel” what Harrod’s is about. They’ve now given an update on more installations by famous people. You still wouldn’t know what the whole campaign is about, since they call it “feel” but they’re all abstracts. Ideally when you have a campaign like that, you’d want to “feel” the brand, and just by having lollipops and fish (more on that later) isn’t going to give Harrod’s patron a better idea of what the store’s about. Since its sale to Dodi, it has lost it’s Britishness and although still a very famous landmark, I fear it has lost its position in the clouds it used to enjoy.
I’ve mentioned how window displays for these retailers are not going to make a huge impact especially these
“interactive” ones. The problem with it is that the return on investment on such projects are not measurable. How do you clearly measure a person’s receptiveness and patronage just by the window display? My opinion is that interactive and large-scale installation window displays are nothing but a PR stunt. Some are really good, like the nude woman at Selfridge’s. Are they really catered to Selfridge’s shoppers? Regular visitor to Harrod’s, Selfridge’s and Harvey Nicks will agree with me on this one: It’s going to make us talk, but it probably won’t make us buy.
Cheaper than above the line advertising but heck a lot more expensive than PR campaigns, the good thing about window displays, if you think of them as adverts, is that they create buzz. And although they are right where you want them to be, no one can be sure exactly the target catchment area of these large-scale upmarket malls. Tourists? London suburb well-off shoppers? Young kids form Chelsea? Who knows.
In summary, window displays are huge PR stunts and should only be ventured into if a. you have the cash b. buzz is the only thing you’re looking to generate c. you are 101% that your designers are going to cause some stir. Otherwise, forget it.
So going back to Harrod’s – two of the new installations they’ve come up with are pretty nifty. One of them is an interactive projection of fish swimming on the ground and as you walk near the fish (or on the fish, if you have sick tendencies like me) they swim away and create ripples on the “water”. Pretty nice. But what happens on a Saturday when they have max capacity? The fish are going to have nowhere to go!
The other nifty installation is one that I’ve experienced several times and still quite like. As you get into the lift (elevator) the lights go off, LEDs – I mean stars, come out to play and you are “transported into space”, giving you a “sixth sense-like cosmic experience”. I hope they give advance warning to those who are claustrophobic or are scared of the dark (what -phobia is that? Comments please). In Tokyo, where I experienced a similar lift, is a tower that goes up to 40 storeys. Half of the lift is glass and you can view the outside world as you go up. After the 10th floor, lights go off and you are transported to space. Until the 40th floor. I went there with a friend who was both claustro- AND dark-phobic. I’ve never felt more sorry and tickled at the same time. He was shaking so hard the lift started to feel like we were in an asteroid field and as soon as the door opened on the 40th, he threw up, just next to the uniformed lift attendant, just as she was about open her mouth and say “WELCOME!”.