From the release of four Marx Brothers comic books in January 1934 to several episodes of HBO's Gilded Age in 2022, Bloomingdale's has served as the backdrop for a wide variety of entertainment over the years.
Scenes from the store were filmed for Woody Allen's Manhattan in 1979, 9 and a Half Weeks in 1986, Bride Wars in 2009, and other films. The company not only provides screenings of individual movies, TV shows and theater productions, but also brings these productions to life as a way to connect with consumers and sell more products.
More from WWD
For example, in 2001 Bloomingdale's went with the Moulin Rouge concept store, inviting movie star Nicole Kidman and some of her co-stars to put on a CanCan show for shoppers. The store's then-senior vice president of fashion management, Cal Rutenstein, first became interested in the Baz Luhrmann-directed film after seeing a photo shoot by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue and 20th Century Fox, and then approached the marketing team about the association. The spirit of Moulin Rouge did not interfere with the Parisian collection even before it was launched on the market.
The retailer's ties to the theater include the 1970s rock opera I Dreamed I Lived in Bloomingdale's, as well as recent performances by Broadway actors and musicians in the main theater. And this Marx Brothers appearance wasn't just comic relief during the Great Depression: the four of them were on the shopping floor to celebrate the opening of Charlie Dropkin's clothing business. But there was only one model, so they didn't linger, WWD reported at the time.
Bloomingdale's executive vice president and CEO Frank Berman mentioned the presence of the Marx Brothers early in a recent interview to illustrate the company's track record of adapting and maximizing entertainment-related efforts. "The whole concept of community, fun and charity has been part of Bloomingdale's DNA since the store opened 150 years ago," he said. “Bloomingdale's is the spirit of pop culture that leads to commercialization. When we can combine fun and experiential value with a product that works so well with them, we see great results. We see a lot of customer interaction, but we are also rewarded with good trade.”
The story continues
Ahead of the company's 150th anniversary, Berman and his team delved into the archives of The New York Times, Hearst and other sources to gain a deeper understanding of its history and evolution over the past 15 decades. Retailers' long-standing relationship with entertainment becomes apparent with each passing decade; According to Berman, the store hosted a number of other activities designed to "make people smile while they shop."
Although Moulin Rouge was cited as a favorite, Berman also sang the latter with Zendaya in 2017's The Greatest Showman. Scenes and songs from the Oscar-nominated film were recreated in the flagship's Christmas window, and Zendaya attended the open house screening and opening ceremony. Berman was also thrilled with the photo shoot he did with the actress/musician and her stylist Lou Roach, and the amount of attention they brought to the project. Zendaya's large social media following has been another advantage for the retailer in attracting a new generation of shoppers.
Other highlights include John Legend's six-song performance, which will open the 2019 Christmas Show, and a variety of short song and dance performances from 10 Broadway shows held in the main theater in 2021 to benefit the community. Epidemic.
"This Bloomingdale's connection to pop culture and glamorous entertainment" was also evident through special events with television and broadcast shows such as "Rent" and "Hairspray" or "Mad Men," "Empire of the Waterfront" and "Bridgerton." . Berman said.
In addition to entertainment, the goal is to provide the most relevant products, as evidenced by the Carousel pop-up store @ Bloomingdale's: Bridgerton. Berman and his team worked with the show's producers and Netflix representatives to develop the three-month, 1,600-square-foot store and online offering, which opened in March and pairs well with spring fashion trends. All the women's and men's shows were inspired and featured exclusive collections from designers of color. Cosmetics, home accessories and children's fashion were also offered. "There was really good direct sales, but there was good customer engagement," Berman said.
On the appeal of entertainment-related projects, Berman said, “Ultimately, it's about sharing the collective mind with our consumers today and those we hope to attract tomorrow. The fact that Bloomingdale's has remained relevant throughout our history can be seen in the passion we have for Next – that's how we lead. You see that connection to pop culture, whether it's television, film or theater, in our stories."
Bridgerton, for example, made it possible for the wildly popular show, which is entering its second season, to hit a home run because her ethereal fashion fits well with spring trends, Berman said. “A great and diverse cast usually leads to success. This is how we decide."
The retailer appeared in more than 30 films in the 1970s. Friends fans will recognize the store as the place where Jennifer Aniston's character worked as a personal shopper in the show's third season in 1994. In the 1984 film The Flash, Daryl Hannah's character sees an advertisement for a store and visits it to learn more about pop culture. In the same year, Robin Williams appeared as a Soviet circus musician who escaped from Moscow's Bloomingdale's on the Hudson. Barbra Streisand's role in the 1986 film The Two-Faced Mirror required a lunch at Bloomingdale's, and in the 2001 film Serendipity, John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale meet at the store as they each try to buy the same pair of gloves. .
Before a retailer makes a commitment, much attention is paid to vision. "The main criteria is, 'Does it fit well with our brand and will our customers value it?'" Berman said.
He pointed out that the retailer's model rooms in its furniture galleries were first created to give people a different experience, and the companies in different countries had to convey the spirit of international travel. Food was another way to attract and tempt consumers through the appearance of celebrity chefs. The musical performance was the highlight. Berman emphasizes that all these initiatives are not only for education, but also for inspiration, according to fashion trends.
As the pace of entertainment production has increased and consumers have become more fickle, in part because of the sheer number of choices, the task of selecting project partners has become more difficult. “Obviously, the digital age has democratized everyone's ability to be an influencer and create content. We are constantly challenging ourselves to be at the top and deliver content, experiences, partnerships and co-products that will cut through the clutter and delight our customers today and the next generation I want to see. Tomorrow," Berman said. "We have to balance those things because we are a market with four generations of customers that we serve, that come from different genders, races and demographics in the United States and around the world. But we must always stay true to our brand and the spirit of Bloomingdale's. There must be truth, power, enlightenment and great healing. It's a recipe that brings all these elements together in a modern way for an immersive experience."
Consumers are definitely paying attention to social media. Bloomingdale's takes into account whether they are actively involved in the community, from the smallest potential partner to the largest. The team determines if they are the demographic and psychographic group the retailer wants to reach. But Berman says the approach is similar to picking stocks or options from Condé Nast, Hearst and The New York Times. “You've gone from three TV channels, several influential publications and newspapers across the country, and now you have thousands and thousands of monetized publishers that you can work with to get your message out. Some are more mass, others are more personal."
Judging entertainment-related events like Bridgerton, The Greatest Showman and Stellabration earlier this year, which included a live digital performance by Stella McCartney as her projects hit the carousel, takes work. Managers take into account attendance, offline and online traffic, purchase evaluation. The goal is to make visitors feel like, "Wow, I just walked out of the 59th Street store, or the Livestream store, or the Century City store, and I have a great product that I purchased that matches my lifestyle. Berman said.
Subscribe to the WWD newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
RSVP for the Fairchild Archives' A Question of Style exhibit in New York, September 9-10.
Click here to read the full article.