Hong Kong Malls Boost Art Effort

Shopping malls in Hong Kong are leveraging art to create multi-channel experiences spanning themed cafés, pop-up shops, social media activations and mobile interactions.

Hosting art exhibitions is not a new way for retailers to draw foot traffic, but major malls in Hong Kong are now expanding their effort to connect with consumers both physically and virtually, making their art collaborations a holistic, multi-channel marketing campaign.

Harbour City most recently ran an exhibition of Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon, putting up gigantic Snoopy figurines across its 2 million sq ft retail space from open areas and corridors to a seat at the food court. This taps into Asian consumers’ love for cartoons and selfies, and the experience goes on in selected food and beverage tenants for Snoopy-themed meals and latte art.

On social media platforms, the Snoopy exhibition became a photo sharing campaign in which shoppers are encouraged to share pictures of Snoopy at the mall to win exclusive products. The campaign received more than 360,000 mentions on Weibo in a month. QR codes, which are popular among Chinese consumers, are placed around the mall and next to the figurines for shoppers to unlock discounts and Peanuts comic strips.

This makes a good example of shopping malls are turning their exhibition to a tourist attraction and a talk of the town, appealing to the consumers’ desire to look for entertaining, one-of-a-kind experiences in their shopping trips.

Other major malls have also been running large-scale exhibitions more frequently, from a few times a year for major festivals to almost monthly. Times Square hosted two major exhibitions this summer, first bringing paper art models of Antoni Gandi’s sculptures and architectural projects to Hong Kong, followed by a Batman display which featured a life-size Batmobile.

As retailers continue to inject art and culture in their offer, it is worth considering how tenant partnerships and digital channels could amplify the shopper experience and make it more memorable and ultimately more viral.

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