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Focussing on short-term leases is unusual for a property song of their choice. “It’s a karaoke machine,” explains Francois
consultancy, but Hughes-Webb identified a gap in the market. With De Freitas, head of marketing at Photo-Me. “You choose from
the growing prominence of commercialisation and a shift towards 500 songs, then sing along inside the booth, and a DVD of your
experiential brand promotions, the need for appropriate spaces and performance is burnt for you to keep.”
temporary lets has grown. According to Hughes-Webb, brands want At £5 a go, the new X-Factor karaoke booths aren’t the cheapest
a physical presence in shopping centres in order to appeal directly to shopping centre offering. But De Freitas is certain that the brand
their target audience. What they don’t want is a 10- to 15-year lease. image and the product itself are targeting the right people. “The most
“Brands want to try new things, not be tied into a lease for the next important thing is to create products that are attractive. They need to
10 years. But property agents aren’t instructed to do anything short- satisfy the needs of the customers who want to have some fun and
term. Now, we want to make brands aware that they can approach the do things they can’t do at home,” he says.
property industry for this kind of interactive, short-term promotion,” And it’s the appeal of a well-known brand that De Freitas is hoping
asserts Hughes-Webb. “It’s not just about temporary lettings: it has will satisfy shoppers’ needs as they look for extra entertainment.
become a business model.” The X-Factor was the obvious choice for this type of product, but
convincing licensor FremantleMedia to associate its most prestigious
The rIghT FIT brand with a karaoke booth was no mean feat. “It’s been difficult,” he
Part of this model is to find the location first, before devising a admits. “Fremantle wanted to protect the brand because it’s so big.
suitable promotion to fit the space. “Agencies come up with good This is a very unique concept, so some people don’t know quite what
ideas, but if they can’t provide the physical space then it can’t be to make of it. But Fremantle saw the opportunity.”
done. We want to do things the other way around. Find the location Meeting high market standards and garnering complex technology
first, then approach the right brands with our ideas,” says Hughes- have added further delays. It has taken over a year since the project
Webb. And that is exactly how BrandHub managed to get Heat was devised to get to this point, and only a handful of shopping
magazine into The Brunswick Centre in London’s Bloomsbury. centres had booths installed before Christmas. The initial plan had
Initially, Heat hadn’t even considered holding its promotion been to roll out the product during The X-Factor’s latest series.
in a shopping centre. “They wanted to display photographs and “We would have liked to be in centres earlier, but a lot have now
images of celebrities used in back issues of the magazine, which become involved,” insists De Freitas. Over 80 centres including White
could have been done in a conventional venue like an art gallery,” Rose shopping centre in Leeds and Manchester Arndale, have now
Hughes-Webb says. “But in a shopping centre, the appeal is that installed the karaoke booths, with more to follow: “We’re rolling them
you’re targeting the right people. Heat came to the Brunswick on out first in the UK, then maybe across other countries.”
the basis that it is not a conventional venue, and it was chosen So it would seem the X-Factor brand is strong enough to
because it suited the brand.” churn up interest all year round, which is ideal in the context of
Possibly one of the most recognised and talked about brands commercialisation. “The booth has been very well-received,” says
across the country is, of course, The X-Factor. International De Freitas. “Centres have been very keen to take it on because it’s
company Photo-Me has recently come up with a product something completely new to the industry.”
for shopping centres that involves the X-Factor brand. More
impressively, the licensors have willingly signed up. Find out more:
The product itself is similar to the traditional photographic For more information, please contact the author or visit the website:
booths that Photo-Me operates. But rather than taking photos,
people go inside the heavily branded booths to sing along to a January 2010 SHOPPING CENTRE
SCC-6 7 Feature 2.indd 7 14/1/10 19:02:14
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