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Experiential Marketing Focuses on Malls, Paramount Gets Dogged

Erik Sass
Meida Post
December 12, 2008

Advertisers are looking to malls more and more as venues for experiential marketing, hoping to immerse consumers in spaces where they are physically surrounded by brand messages. Recent experiential efforts do not focus on over-selling; instead, they present environments as entertainment or useful services.

They are not always directed at people.

In the latest iteration, Paramount is promoting its new children's comedy, "Hotel for Dogs," by erecting a hotel for dogs in the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles. Mall visitors who bring their dogs can leave them at the "hotel" while they shop. The pets are looked after by employees of New Leash on Life Animal Rescue, a charity devoted to placing strays and abandoned animals.

Patrons can leave their dogs for up to four hours for free; every hour after that costs $10.00, with NLOL getting the proceeds. The temporary installation will remain at the outdoor mall through Jan. 5. Paramount has scheduled a special screening at the mall for Dec. 13, including a chance to meet one of the stars.

Paramount's dog hotel comes after the announcement of a few interesting experiential mall marketing initiatives.

Conde Nast's Teen Vogue has created a temporary marketing center that will be open until the end of December called The Teen Vogue Haute Spot in a Short Hills, NJ mall. Retail isn't the sole focus; per BusinessWeek, the branded space is intended to allow girls to relax, socialize and enjoy refreshments while trying on clothes. The store will feature free snacks, informal modeling, a perfume bar, a makeup station, charging stations for cell phones and iPods, a gift-wrapping counter and racks of clothes.

In September, the U.S. Army opened a 14,500-square-foot "Army Experience Center" in Philadelphia's Franklin Mills Mall. Visitors to the AEC can participate in mission simulations and interact with online programs telling them about careers, training and educational opportunities, such as college tuition.

"AEC" also includes an opportunity to see and handle cutting-edge (non-lethal) military gadgetry. Activity areas include a command-and-control center (headquarters), the interactive career center and vehicle simulators for the Apache helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter and Humvee.

There are also gaming areas featuring the U.S. Army's official game, "America's Army," on Xbox 360 pods and networked computers. The center allows the Army to test and refine various marketing techniques for broader use in its national recruiting campaigns.






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