Center staff describe their most successful charity events, galas and more, including the lessons learned for future ventures.
Before the first turn of dirt for a new mall (or other shopping center), a deal is struck between "the mall" and its community. That deal is the promise of being a good neighbor by paying taxes, maintaining a quality environment and supporting those interests that are important to the people who support the center.
Marketing -- in all of its incarnations -- leads the way in ensuring that the deal stays intact. When a leasing agent describes the center and its location to a potential tenant, that's marketing. When a company president makes his case to a financial institutional for a loan, that's marketing. And when center management holds an event in the mall, that's marketing, too.
Too often, the strategic purpose of a mall promotional event is not fully understood because the event is simply too much fun.
What follows here are many examples of promotional events held in the past year or so in malls all across the country. These (and all of the others Shopping Center World did not have the room to publish) more than uphold the terms of the deal between the mall and its community.
Galas Puttin' On The Ritz; Ball In The Mall; Les Petits Enfant Mardi Gras Mall Ball; Evening At The Plaza
Touring Events/National Promos Walt Disney World Magical Memories Show; After The Dinosaur: Into The Ice Age; Starburst Fruit Twists--Turn Up The Juice; LEGO Design Competition; Clairol's 'Nice 'N Easy' Shine On Tour
Holiday Events Merry Elfkins; Back-To-School Fair; Star Spangled Night; Mexican Independence Day Celebration; Rudolph Runner; FairOaks Mall/WR20 Typewriter Toss; The University Park Village Easter Egg Hunt and Silent Auction
Clubs/Frequent Shoppers Splash Into Summer; Mallwide 20% Off Sale/Preferred Shoppers A.M.; Kids Days; The Unbirthday Easter Tea Party
Charity Events Volunteer 5 'Neighbor To Neighbor'; A Taste Of Irving; Survivors: The Art of Courage; Community Unity; Construct A World Without Hunger; Kidney Foundation Playhouse Parade
Other Promotional Events Silly Saturdays; 1997 Safe Kids Fest; I LIKE ME Poster Contest/Display; Summer Concert Series; Snowtown
Galas Puttin' On The Ritz held Feb. 9, 1997 The Oaks Mall in Gainesville, Fla. managed by The Prudential Realty Group, Parsippany, N.J.
The event. The mall's signature charity gala to generate funds for Children's Home Society.
The cost. A budget of $23,000 for entertainment, equipment, decor, collateral and operational costs. Also, 200 manhours from the mall staff.
The tenants. The tenants donated merchandise for the silent auction, apparel for freeze modeling, services for photo operation, and left lights on to allow for window shopping during the after-hours event.
Outside sponsors. Local newspaper, television and radio station for advertising; 46 area restaurants for food; local printer and artist for collaterals; area businesses for silent auction gifts.
The final analysis. Raised $45,000 for the charity (a 6 percent increase over the previous gala). Received the equivalent of $33,000 inpublicity.
Next time. Experiment with a new theme and entertainment to keep the event fresh.
Ball In The Mall an annual event, held Nov. 9, 1996 Aurora Mall in Aurora, Calif. managed by Pembrook Management Inc., New York
The event. The Ball in the Mall celebrates the multi-faceted cultural, ethnic experiences, backgrounds and lifestyles of Aurora and is a major fundraiser for Kaleidoscope Aurora. The funds support multicultural events, public school programs and activities in the City of Aurora. The ball is a heritage attire/black-tie event.
The cost. The marketing director and general manager are on the planning committee and attend all planning meetings. Security and housekeeping are enlisted for the day of the event. Cost in manhours: approximately $1,000.
Other costs/services included: valet parking, coat check, in kind clerical and administrative assistance from the City of Aurora. Also, local restaurants donated ethnic cuisine; City of Aurora Building Maintenance assisted with logistics and setup; the Boys Scouts of America assisted with setup and teardown; Community College of Aurora provided programs, video production and master of ceremonies.
The tenants. Door prize donations, beverage service and carousel rides were provided by the tenants.
The final analysis. Capacity crowd of 400 people. Met contribution goal of just under $10,000.
Next time. Focus on one region/culture. Add time for dancing and mixing.
Les Petits Enfant Mardi Gras Mall Ball held Jan. 25, 1997 Cordova Mall in Pensacola, Fla. managed by Robert B. Aikens & Associates L.L.C., Troy, Mich.
The event. An annual black tie/costume party gala for the Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.
The cost. Planning for the event begins as the previous one ends, making manhours difficult to track. The marketing director and assistant marketing director took the lead in the planning. The day of the event mall security and maintenance costs ran about $800. Other expenses included liquor, table rentals and entertainment.
The tenants. Both Parisian and Gayfers were cash sponsors and very involved in the planning. Dillard's donated door prizes. Victoria's Secret provided soaps and lotions for the restrooms. Parisian donated fragrances for the restrooms. Mitchell's Formalwear offered discounts on tuxedo rentals.
Several tenants provided food and beverages for the evening. Many attended the event.
Outside sponsors. About 15 area businesses contributed money to the event. Hygeia Coca-Cola not only was a major cash sponsor but also contributed all of the evening's soft drinks. Local TV and radio stations provided media sponsorship support. Decorations were provided by an outdoor billboard company. All the food was donated by area restaurants. Balloon decoration services were donated.
The final analysis. Attendance at the Mall Ball grew from 400 in 1996 to almost 1,000 in 1997. Raised $30,000. Media support had a combined value of $100,000. Sponsors have re-committed for the 1998 gala.
Next time. Centralize the staging areas.
Evening At The Plaza held Aug. 18, 1996, 7--11 p.m. Montclair Plaza, Montclair, Calif. managed by Donahue Schriber, Newport Beach, Calif.
The event. A annual black-tie social featuring musical entertainment on five stages, gourmet cuisine from the area's finest dining establishments and wineries, and silent auction. Proceeds benefited three local charities including the Wignall Museum at Chaffey College, the Montclair Youth Sponsorship Fund and the Chaffey Community College Foundation.
The cost. The marketing and operations departments coordinated the advertising and logistics of the event (80 hours/donated time). The center's contracted security company, IPC, donated all of the security for the event (50 hours). The mall's maintenance company, ICC, also donated its time (40 hours).
Other costs/services: Montclair Plaza coffee mugs and gift bags for guests; decor. Also, table and booth rentals were donated; collateral design was paid by Montclair Plaza, but the printing cost was donated; mall walkers volunteered to sell raffle tickets, work the silent auction and staff the event check-in; Montclair Plaza donated a $250 gift certificate for the final raffle of the evening.
The tenants. Merchant participation included food tasting booths, prize donations, items for giveaway bags, and silent auction items. Participating merchants included Macy's, Kay Jewelers, Ames, Bebe, B. Dalton, Gary's Tux, KB Toys, Windsor Fashions, T-shirts Plus, Gloria Jeans, Merksamer Jewelers, Tiffany's Beauty Supply and Leathermode.
Outside sponsors. The major sponsors included Comcast Cablevision, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Kaiser Permanente, and R.C. Photography and Associates, as well as 15 additional sponsors.
The final analysis. The event served Montclair Plaza by attracting the community's upper income residents, which is the target market for the fashion center. More than 1,400 people (at $45 per ticket) attended the event.
Newspaper coverage was garnered before and after the event, resulting in a total publicity value of $12,488. The local cable system aired more than 100 public service announcements for the 60-day period leading up to the event. More than $19,000 was raised. Commitments for 1997 exceed those for 1996.
Next time. Include a fashion element.
Touring Events/National Promos Walt Disney World Magical Memories Show held April 5--6, 1997 Cumberland Mall in Atlanta managed by MEPC American Properties, Dallas
The event. A fun, family-friendly event by Walt Disney in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Walt Disney World in Orlando. Cumberland Mall was the only Atlanta mall to be included in Disney's tour of 21 cities.
The cost. The mall marketing department coordinated the event with Walt Disney World (approximate cost: $1,000). The event cost was $29,000 and included three elaborate, outdoor stage shows, two indoor Disney character "meet & greet" areas and an indoor Disney "storytelling corner" each day.
The tenants. Not directly involved.
Outside sponsors. WSB Radio, WSB-TV were media sponsors providing $172,450 worth of radio and television advertising.
The final analysis. The tour drew more than 100,000 visitors, mainly families, to the mall for the weekend. A 20 percent increase in traffic was reported in most stores. A "register to win" drawing garnered 4,000 names for the mall's mailing list. Cumberland Mall received a promotional value seven times that of the investment. A great success.
Next time. Coordinate additional merchandising tie-ins.
After The Dinosaur: Into The Ice Age held Feb. 7 to March 30, 1997 Burnsville Center in Burnsville, Minn. managed by Pembrook Management Inc., New York
The event. An exhibition created by Kokoro Co. Ltd. of 11 lifelike, animated mammalian creatures from the earliest ages of the earth. Self-guided tours were free to the public. The exhibit provided an educational family entertainment venue to capture increased market share, adding value to the shopping experience.
The cost. Marketing director and mall secretary coordinated the event with outside agencies including the exhibit company, visual display contractor, media, advertising agency and public relations agency.
The event had a budget of $175,700 for the exhibit fee, visual display expense to build out environments, media, public relations, signage and collaterals, advertising agency fee, opening reception party, special events and a school group/tour coordination fee.
The tenants. The tenants distributed bag stuffers/fliers and created window displays and other merchandising to promote the event.
Outside sponsors. None.
The final analysis. More than $90,500 in publicity value from television, print and radio. Comparative store sales for February were up 5.7 percent from 1996, and March sales were up 4.2 percent.
Next time. Secure sponsorships to underwrite exhibit fee.
Starburst Fruit Twists--Turn Up The Juice held May 2--4, 1997 Richmond Mall in Richmond Heights, Ohio managed by Simon DeBartolo Group Inc., Indianapolis
The event. Distributed free samples of Starburst fruit twists (a new product) to customers. Local non-profit group that distributed the candy received $500.
The cost. The marketing aide coordinated with a local group (high school cheerleaders) to distribute the candy.
The tenants. The tenants were not involved in this event; however, at a subsequent sidewalk sale, each tenant distributed more candy.
Outside sponsors. The candy was free of charge from EventNet USA, and the mall received a fee of $1,500.
The final analysis. Great.
Next time. No changes.
LEGO Design Competition held Oct. 5--6, 1996 Horton Plaza in San Diego managed by TrizecHahn Centers, San Diego
The event. Teams of children used their creativity as Horton Plaza was transformed into a construction zone for a two-day LEGO building competition. Funds benefited the San Diego chapters of the YMCA Oz, a shelter and counseling center for teens in crisis, and YWCA Domestic Violence Services.
The cost. The marketing director, tourism and media manager, security and maintenance were involved in managing the event. LEGOs and construction hats were donated. Volunteers from the YMCA and YWCA staffed the registration tables and judged the entries.
The tenants. Retailers donated prizes for the winners and provided shopping bags for the LEGOs.
Outside sponsors. LEGO and a local radio station.
The final analysis. More than 900 building teams participated in the two-day event, raising more than $13,000 for the charities involved.
Clairol's 'Nice 'N Easy' Shine On Tour held June 14--15, 1997 Great Lakes Mall in Mentor, Ohio managed by Simon DeBartolo Group Inc., Indianapolis
The event. Product sampling in the parking lot.
The cost. Maintenance staff set up tables and roped off parking lot/30 minutes.
The tenants. Not involved.
Outside sponsors. Clairol funded the entire event, including a $500 fee paid to Great Lakes Mall and $7,500 for radio advertising.
The final analysis. Very heavy traffic in desired target market, women 25--54.
Next time. Obtain a larger fee from Clairol.
Holiday Events Merry Elfkins held each December Fox Run Mall in Newington, N.H. managed by ERE Yarmouth (formerly Compass Retail), New York
The event. The mall partnered with a troupe of local artists, The Merry Elfkins, to spread holiday cheer throughout the community -- delivering gifts to preschool children, preparing food for the needy, visiting the elderly, and appearing at other holiday events around town and handing out free gift-wrap certificates and coupons for Fox Run Mall. Any donations collected went to The Salvation Army.
The cost. The entire mall marketing staff was involved (approximately 70 hours). Total costs were approximately $12,000 for all printed collaterals, gifts and food.
The tenants. Retailers participated in the VIP coupon book distributed by the Merry Elfkins.
Outside sponsors. A local radio station.
The final analysis. The Salvation Army raised $12,000 through the gift-wrap service. The mall received publicity valued at $5,000. The coupon book achieved a 4 percent redemption rate (twice the industry average).
Next time. Solicit more outside sponsors. Move the event early in the holiday season.
Back-To-School Fair held Aug. 9, 1996 Oakwood Mall in Enid, Okla. managed by Simon DeBartolo Group Inc., Indianapolis
The event. Kicked-off back-to-school shopping by inviting civic organizations (e.g., YWCA, Boys Scouts, public library) and schools to the mall for a one-day, promotional event. Highlighted tenants' back-to-school merchandise.
The cost. The marketing coordinator and administrative assistant dedicated about 40 hours to the event. Outside services involved little or no cost: Shriner Klowns (small donation), school mascots, cartoon characters and performances by local majorette and gymnastic organizations.
The tenants. The tenants provided freeze modeling and displays of back-to-school merchandise in the common areas. Food court tenants ran specials on hamburgers, french fries and drinks.
Outside sponsors. None.
The final analysis. Fun for everyone involved; met objective of increasing traffic and sales.
Next time. Try to obtain a soft drink sponsor to hand out samples and freebie gear.
Star Spangled Night held on July 4 since 1960 Lenox Square in Atlanta managed by Pembrook Management, New York
The event. Fireworks display at the mall.
The cost. All management and marketing staff work on the event. Other costs include permitting fees, fireworks fees, barricades, stage, power distribution and sound.
The tenants. Food court tenants sold food in the parking lot.
Outside sponsors. Coca-Cola, WXIA-TV, WSTR-FM, and The Atlanta Journal & Constitution newspaper at $25,000 each.
The final analysis. 325,000 attended the event in 1997 (200,000 in 1996).
Next time. Provide better trash receptacles. Relocate children's play area.
Rudolph Runner each November since 1992 Ogden City Mall in Ogden, Utah managed by CBL & Associates Management Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn.
The event. A shopping tour by bus to Ogden City Mall for residents of Rock Springs, Wyo., (a lucrative customer base located outside of the mall's primary market) during the holiday shopping season.
The cost. All mall management staff assist in the planning. On the day of the event, mall management staff and store personnel volunteer to assist with the gift wrap station and hospitality suites. Also, a portion of the cost is charged back to the guest to cover the hotel room, bus transportation and food. Other costs include gift wrapping supplies, gift-with-purchase item, and coupon book/shopping list.
The tenants. Each store provides a special discount, gift or service to this group of tourists.
Outside sponsors. In those years when an overnight tour package was offered, a hotel provided a reduced rate (nearly 50%).
The final analysis. Each year the mall and especially participating merchants show sales increases. Customers report average expenditures of $500 to $750.
Next time. Continuing to make adjustments as warranted by the group of customers.
FairOaks Mall/WR20 Typewriter Toss April 22, 1997, 10 a.m.--noon FairOaks Mall in Columbus, Ind. managed by Schostak Brothers & Co. Inc., Southfield, Mich.
The event. To mark Professional Secretaries Day, secretaries registered for a chance to be among three winners who would toss a typewriter off a 20-ft. lift in the mall's parking lot. The typewriter tossed closest to the bull's eye won a Florida vacation. The event was held the day before Secretaries Day.
The cost. All mall personnel were involved, and extra labor came from local radio station personnel and other sponsors (approximate cost: $150). Advertising costs ($800) were donated.
Outside sponsors. A local radio station and travel agency. Maxwell's Office Products.
The final analysis. 300 entries. Gift stores in the mall reported sales increases over 1996. Restaurants saw an increase on the day of the event.
Next time. Promote the event earlier. Accept registrations at the mall only (rather than faxing to the radio station).
Mexican Independence Day Celebration held Sept. 14, 1996 Desert Sky Mall (formerly Westridge Mall) in Phoenix managed by Westcor Partners, Phoenix
The event. A mallwide festival with music and games to increase awareness of the center in a highly Hispanic populated community as well as to provide a cultural event for the Hispanic market.
The cost. Mall marketing, management, security and customer service were involved (approximate cost: $1,500).
Other costs included rental of tables, tents, music, live entertainment, inflatable kids games, pinatas, T-shirts, banners and flowers ($4,411).
The tenants. Tenants donated items for customer fun bags and prize drawings.
Outside sponsors. Telemundo television station 64 ($10,000 advertising package), Southwest Supermarkets, and Arizona Sandsharks Soccer Team.
The final analysis. The event drew hundreds of new Hispanic shoppers and won accolades from the Consul General of Mexico.
Next time. Extend event over a weekend (rather than a single day). Relocate live entertainment to be near the food court. Involve more food merchants.
The University Park Village Easter Egg Hunt And Silent Auction an annual event, held March 29, 1997 University Park Village in Fort Worth, Texas managed by Madison Marquette Realty Services, Minneapolis
The event. A carefully crafted event inclusive of all families, but especially those children visually impaired or handicapped and children with Diabetes. Special areas were set up with special beeping eggs and eggs filled with sugar-free candy.
The cost. The property manager and advertising agency (Phillips, Team & Myers) managed a staff of 250 volunteers, who together donated 1,500 free hours of labor.
Advertising and promotion: $4,378.81. Setup: $789.66. Supplies: $1,453.09.
The tenants. Tenants and volunteers filled more than 10,000 plastic eggs with candy. Retailers provided refreshments, gift certificates, T-shirts and photos with the Easter Bunny.
Outside sponsors. Local newspaper, radio station, a TV station, Alexander Vision Center, American Diabetes Association, Cook Care Bear Ambulance, Fort Worth Fire Department, a local bank, and Kids Who Care.
The final analysis. More than 3,000 people attended the event with more than 700 children participating in the egg hunts. $2,500 was raised for the Alexander Vision Center and American Diabetes Association. Set to become an annual event.
Next time. Rely more on public relations and less on advertising.
Clubs/Frequent Shoppers Splash Into Summer held July 8--12, 1997 College Mall in Bloomington, Ind. managed by Simon DeBartolo Group Inc., Indianapolis
The event. A joint promotion with WBWB-FM, the event involved five contestants sitting on waverunners for 97 hours inside the mall. A winner would be declared when only one person was still sitting or by random drawing if more than one remained the entire 97 hours. (Three contestants were still sitting after time had expired!) The promotion was designed to increase awareness of College Mall's new MALLPeRKS program.
The cost. The marketing director and marketing administrator managed the event. An overnight security guard was needed during the four nights of the event ($260).
The promotion was a value-added tradeout for the mall's third quarter radio advertising.
The tenants. Six stores donated merchandise as consolation prizes. Mall restaurants donated food to feed the contestants while they were living inside the mall.
Outside sponsors. Fox's Cycle donated the waverunner ($6,600). Coca-Cola provided soft drinks and prizes during the promotion.
The final analysis. The radio station broadcasted live from the mall the entire 97 hours, which was more than originally offered. Total promotional tradeout value was more than $20,000.
Mallwide 20% Off Sale/Preferred Shoppers A.M. held May 5--11/May 10 Annapolis Mall in Annapolis, Md. managed by Westfield Corp., Los Angeles
The event. Participating retailers offered 20 percent discounts on regularly priced items during the week prior to Mother's Day. As part of a Preferred Shoppers Morning (8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., May 10), shoppers received an additional 5 percent off their purchases. That morning, families were invited to the mall for a continental breakfast, and the event ended with a raffle. The mall also provided a massage therapy group to offer mothers free, 15-minute massages.
The cost. The marketing team staffed the event with three people. Preferred Shoppers Morning cost approximately $150 in manhours, and the continental breakfast cost $200. Advertising for the sale and the Preferred Shoppers Morning cost $9,000 for newspaper inserts.
The tenants. Merchants participated by offering 20 percent off regularly priced merchandise (limited to one item per visit). Some tenants contributed merchandise or a gift certificate to be raffled during the Preferred Shoppers Morning.
Outside sponsors: Therapeutic Touch of Annapolis provided massage therapy services.
The final analysis. Merchant sales rose during the week-long event, and retailers reported marked increases during the Preferred Shoppers Morning. Mall traffic rose 9 percent on the day of the Preferred Shoppers Morning.
Next time. Hours for the Preferred Shoppers Morning should be 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Kids Days held on Wednesdays during July Eastland Mall in Charlotte, N.C. managed by Faison Associates, Charlotte
The event. Booths throughout the mall to entertain children with crafts, learning opportunities and volunteer information. Stage performances, face painting, interactive adventures and guest appearances (including the mall's canine mascot and good will ambassador, RAGGS) were scheduled, too. RAGGS Kids Club members received a coupon book. (RAGGS is an acronym for Retailer Associates Giving the Gift of Service.)
The cost. The marketing director, assistant marketing director, promotions coordinator and six part-time employees managed the event. Other costs included: RAGGS's costume ($4,000); newspaper advertising ($9,000), radio advertising ($5,000) and collaterals ($6,000).
The tenants. Great American Cookie Co. and Pretzel Twister participated by offering cookie decorating and pretzel crafts. Thirty-one stores participated in a Kids Club coupon book.
Outside sponsors. Public library, YMCA, Red Cross, Girl Scouts, and one local radio station.
The final analysis. Attendance nearly doubled over 1996 stats. Coupon redemption also has doubled.
The Unbirthday Easter Tea Party held March 22, 1997 Burlington Mall in Burlington, Mass. managed by Pembrook Management Inc., New York
The event. A tea (with an Alice in Wonderland theme) to celebrate the Easter season for the current kids birthday club members. The food court was transformed into a theater in the round, complete with linen table cloths and silver tea pots. The event included two performances of a 40-minute Alice in Wonderland musical, which concluded with the cast singing the unbirthday song.
The cost. The marketing department ran the event, and the maintenance department helped with setup. Manhours totaled about 44 hours from planning to implementation. High school seniors helped with setup and served as party hosts, raising $500 for the class.
Other costs included: mail house for postcard mailing to members, screenprinter for t-shirts for the high school students, visual merchandiser to put together the set, and goodie bags that included a snack and a birthday cake mug.
The tenants. One merchant provided the food (tea, lemonade, cupcakes) and another food merchant provided the "doormouse" prizes.
Outside sponsors. None.
The final analysis. A 32 percent return on the postcard mailing to kids club members. 150 children attended. Set to become an annual event.
Next time. Extend the event over two days with three tea parties scheduled each day. Solicit Lipton Tea as a sponsor.
Charity Events Volunteer 5 'Neighbor To Neighbor' held May 3, 1997 Crestwood Plaza in St. Louis managed by Hycel Properties, St. Louis
The event. A bipartisan volunteer recruitment event following the Presidents' summit to promote volunteerism.
Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt, Missouri Senator Christopher (Kit) Bond and KSDK-TV Channel 5 (NBC affiliate) approached Crestwood Plaza about hosting the one-day event. Retired General Colin Powell gave a speech on the power of volunteerism to close the day. Non-profit organizations setup volunteer recruitment stations in the mall.
Crestwood Plaza's marketing director worked with Gephardt's office on pre-publicity and logistics of Powell's speech, and with KSDK-TV on pre-publicity and promotion. The center mapped out the locations of all tables for the volunteer organizations, and assisted representatives of Gephardt's office on the placement of the main stage, media platform and reserved seating areas. The general manager, operations manager and security director coordinated with the event director of security the car and foot routes of Gephardt, Bond and Powell. They also worked with the City of Crestwood Police Department to handle the heavy car traffic at the event.
The costs. Labor costs to set up the booths were $1,200. The center agreed to provide each of the 109 volunteer organizations with a 6-ft. table and two chairs, which would be set up in stations of four divided by 16 ft. of pipe and drape. The total cost for the rentals was $4,500.
The tenants. There was no direct participation from the tenants.
Outside sponsors. Gephardt and Bond's offices shared the costs of a stage and sound for Powell's speech. KSDK-TV ran an extensive schedule of promotional spots from April 12 to May 3.
The final analysis. The objectives of the event were to host a traffic-building event that would position Crestwood Plaza as a good corporate citizen; to educate thousands of shoppers about the volunteer needs of non-profit organizations in the St. Louis community; to recruit a minimum of 15 volunteers per organization; to generate a minimum of 500 column inches in print media and 20 minutes in electronic media coverage for the event.
More than 80 percent of Crestwood Plaza's retailers were very happy with the amount of foot traffic the event drew. Sixty percent of the tenants reported an increase in comparable store sales from 1996. Based on responses from representatives of nearly 50 percent of the organizations: 188 people stopped at each booth, 19 people per booth requested more information, and 16 people per booth signed up to volunteer.
Volunteer 5 "Neighbor to Neighbor" generated 862 column inches of print coverage, including front page articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Journal newspapers, and articles in newspapers outside of Crestwood Plaza's primary and secondary markets. The event also generated more than 30 minutes of coverage in the electronic media, topping the newscasts of every major television station in the St. Louis market after the volunteer recruitment event.
Next time. Include more organizations. Space constrictions forced center management to accept only 109 of the 259 non-profit organizations requesting a booth.
Survivors: The Art Of Courage held April 13--25, 1997 The Court & The Plaza at King of Prussia (Pa.) managed by Kravco Co., King of Prussia
The event. Art exhibit by 24 artists who spoke with 100 breast cancer survivors. The purpose of the exhibit and gala was to generate awareness for breast cancer, raise money for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and honor those women and their loved ones who have been affected by breast cancer.
The cost. Coordinating the event for the mall were Lisa McBride, director of marketing services, and Kirise Krammer, marketing services assistant.
Other costs/services -- radio production, newspaper production, mallwide signage, promotion equipment, public relations, magalog, breakfast for curator -- totalled $33,520.
The tenants. Bloomingdale's, Coach, Tiffany & Co., Oilily, Godiva, Coffee Beanery and California Cafe hosted events and provided in-kind donations.
Outside sponsors. Radio station B101.1; Main Line Today magazine; Auro (produced invitation and program); Metro Kids.
The final analysis. The exhibit -- one with such a poignant message -- was well-received: 24,000 people viewed the exhibit and $120,000 net (20 percent above the goal) was raised for Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
Public relations efforts generated 1,329 column inches from 86 newspaper articles; 12 minutes and 34 seconds of television air time on Philadelphia's ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates; an upcoming documentary of the closing ceremony, "Eat Dessert First" will air on Lifetime Television; internet exposure through the center's web site.
The curator is expected to stage other exhibits in other malls across the country.
Next time. Find additional opportunities to honor a husband or child of a survivor.
A Taste Of Irving an annual event, held Aug. 9 Irving Mall in Irving, Texas managed by Simon DeBartolo Group, Indianapolis
The event. A fundraiser for Irving Healthcare System, a not for profit hospital and an affiliate of Baylor Healthcare System. Twenty Dallas/Fort Worth restaurants provide food samples for $2 per taste or five tastes for $5.
The work. The marketing director and maintenance supervisor manage a large volunteer support staff from the hospital.
The cost. All outside services (signs, skirts, tables, printing) are donated.
The tenants. Three food tenants were involved in the food sampling: Paradise Bakery, Fuddruckers restaurant and Chick-fil-A.
Outside sponsors. Radio, newspaper, the Irving School System, Dr. Pepper, GTE and JCPenney.
The final analysis. More than $150,000 was raised for the hospital. Retail sales increased 3 percent to 9 percent over comparable sales. The publicity garnered had an estimated value of $100,000.
Next time. This the 10th Annual Taste of Irving; the kinks have been worked out.
Community Unity an annual event, held in May Cheltenham Square in Philadelphia managed by Simon DeBartolo Group, Indianapolis
The event. Twenty-two regional centers (including 21 non-SDG-managed centers) in the Delaware Valley set out to recruit 10,000 new volunteers by the year 2000 in response to the Presidents' Summit for America's Future.
The malls invited non-profit organizations to provide information and opportunities to sign up for volunteer service. Most centers also held a kick-off event on May 3.
The cost. All SDG employees were involved. Other costs included: the press conference, promotional t-shirts, supplies to sign up volunteers, miscellaneous printing costs.
The tenants. The tenants were ambassadors not only for the month-long event but also for the volunteerism cause. Many wore Community Unity buttons and distributed collateral. Some tenants rewarded newly recruited volunteers with a small gift.
Outside sponsors. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, Power 99fm, WPEN, WMMR, WJJZ, WFLN, Q102.
The final analysis. The community did sign up to volunteer. The mall had an increase in traffic.
Next time. Print less informational pieces or consolidate them on a single sheet.
Construct A World Without Hunger held Nov. 13--Dec. 6, 1996 The Mall at Green Hills in Nashville, Tenn. managed by Madison Marquette Realty Services Inc., Minneapolis
The event. To spark a collection drive for a local food bank, 11 local architectural and design firms built elaborate displays using canned goods. The displays remained at the mall for three to four weeks. An awards ceremony, hosted by country music star Amy Grant, also was held. The canned goods (30,000+) were given to the food bank.
The cost. The manager, assistant manager and maintenance supervisor were involved in the event. The only hard cost for the event was the $100 gift certificate giveaways for the winning entries.
The tenants. Some tenants offered a 10 percent discount to customers bringing a canned good to their stores during the promotion.
Outside sponsors. A local television station, Kroger Foods, Wildhorse Saloon Caterers, Middle Tennessee Institute of Architects & Designers, the food bank and others.
The final analysis. More than $50,000 in free publicity was generated for the mall during the event. More than 30,000 canned goods were donated to the food bank. Sales were up more than 10 percent.
Next time. Involve the merchants more closely.
Kidney Foundation Playhouse Parade an annual event, held June 2--22, 1997 West Town Mall in Knoxville, Tenn. managed by Simon DeBartolo Group, Indianapolis
The event. Several area contractors construct oversized playhouses to be auctioned after being on display in the mall for three weeks. Proceeds go to the Kidney Foundation. On the day of the auction, clowns, face painting, etc., fill the mall.
The cost. Marketing director attended several planning meetings and was onhand during setup. Other costs included materials for the contractors, mall signage and labor expenses on the day of the auction.
The tenants. The tenants had no direct participation in the event.
Outside sponsors. Moore's lumber, WATE-TV, WIVK-Radio, realty executives.
The final analysis. Excellent media coverage. Strong foot traffic. Raised $30,000 for the Kidney Foundation.
Next time. The annual Playhouse Parade runs very smoothly.
Other Promotional Events Silly Saturdays an annual event, held Saturdays, June 14--Aug. 23 Green Valley Town Center in Henderson, Nev. managed by American Nevada Corp., Henderson
The event. Children's events and entertainment series held every other Saturday during the summer. Some of the entertainment includes: magicians, story-tellers, interactive games, hula hoop contests, and a beach party that takes place around the 40-foot-tall interactive fountain -- the project's centerpiece.
The cost. The director of marketing for American Nevada, the property management staff and mall security personnel (approximately 120 manhours) were dedicated to the event.
An event coordinator ($300 fee per event) and all entertainment ($500 per event) was outsourced. Other costs included: chairs ($200 per event); prizes/ giveaways ($250 per event); and advertising/promotion ($900 per event).
The tenants. The tenants helped to publicize and build enthusiasm for the event. Also, tenants donated prizes and giveaways.
Outside sponsors. A local radio station donated 35 spots per event. Mountasia Family Fun Center donated prizes and hosted a miniature golf game.
The final analysis. Each Saturday, the event attracts 150--200 children and their parents. Tenants report significant increases in sales during the special event weekends.
Next time. More direct participation from the tenants.
1997 Safe Kids Fest an annual event, held May 1--3, 1997 Haywood Mall in Greenville, S.C. managed by Pembrook Management Inc., New York
The event. An exhibition of interactive displays designed to teach young school-age children to "play it safe." The displays were run by staff from the Greenville Hospital System and community volunteers. The exhibition was complemented by a mallwide gift-with-purchase program: a child's bicycle helmet was free with a $100 purchase.
The cost. The marketing staff supervised installation/dismantling (three people/15 hours/$250). Equipment rental (tables and chairs) totaled $800.
The tenants. The tenants participated in and benefited from the gift-with-purchase program.
Outside sponsors. Greenville Safe Kids Coalition, Children's Hospital of Greenville, State Farm Insurance plus 40 area corporations that volunteer support for the children's groups.
The final analysis. A 12 percent gain in traffic over 1996; a 20 percent increase in responses by local schools and corporations to attend and/or volunteer. More than 4,500 children attended the event; 500 helmets were awarded in the gift-with-purchase program; sales increased 11 percent.
Next time. Continue to improve the activities and information.
I LIKE ME Poster Contest/Display an annual event, held May 19--30, 1997 Pointe Plaza in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. managed by Schostak Brothers & Co., Southfield, Mich.
The event. I LIKE ME is an annual self-esteem poster contest sponsored by the Northeast Guidance Center.
More than 3,000 children from 300 elementary schools submitted posters; approximately 700 were displayed in the mall. The award presentation was held in the mall.
Northeast Guidance Center is a 30-year-old, fully accredited, community mental health agency. It is supported through fees for services, charitable donations, a contract with the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Board, and other grants and contracts.
The cost. $300 in manhours: property manager, corporate marketing director, maintenance and security staff, advertising manager. $1740 for RTL Advertising & Consulting, Troy, Mich., to design and produce 22" x 28" silk-screened posters as well as two 10' x 6' banners to hang outside.
The tenants. Tenants donated refreshments for the awards presentation, and merchants handed out fliers about the display to customers.
Outside sponsors. None.
The final analysis. The mall had a 15 percent traffic increase as well as additional exposure creating good will for the center.
Next time. Display the posters for a longer period of time.
Summer Concert Series an annual event, held May 2--Sept. 27, 1997 Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay in Naples, Fla. managed by Institutional Realty Management L.L.C., Dallas
The event. Every Friday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the best music of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s fills Waterside Shops (an open-air shopping center). Admission is free. Cleveland Clinic Naples sponsored the concert series as a way to introduce itself to the community.
The cost. The general manager worked with the external marketing team to prepare the advertising materials, secure sponsors and coordinate the event logistics.
Other costs include an event planner, paid entertainment, a tented stage, visitor seating and banners.
The tenants. Tenants offer special sales and welcome concert-goers with complimentary food and beverages.
Outside sponsors. The hospital, along with a local daily newspaper and radio station, partnered with Waterside Shops, offering advertising and financial commitments in exchange for promotional benefits.
The final analysis. The event positioned the mall as a shopping destination with a unique retail environment, drawing thousands of Southwest Florida residents.
Next time. Seek additional sponsors to increase advertising funds.
Snowtown an annual event, held Jan. 17-- Feb. 19, 1997 Downtown Plaza in Sacramento, Calif. managed by TrizecHahn Centers, San Diego
The event. A 32 ft. toboggan run was constructed from 106 tons of real snow to transform the urban, outdoor center -- Downtown Plaza -- into a winter wonderland in a city that sees the real stuff only once every 20 years. Children also made snowmen and participated in other activities such as ice sculpting.
The cost. The marketing director, assistant marketing director and entertainment manager guided the event. Maintenance personnel helped as needed.
Other costs include: snow production ($35,500); ramp siding, compressors ($8,600); staffing ($8,000); advertising ($23,000).
The tenants. The event coincided with special coupons, discounts and other sales incentives offered by the tenants for the duration of the event.
Outside sponsors. Boreal Ski Resort gave free skiing lessons to children on a mini-ski run. Party Concierge involved the crowds in ice sculpting.
The final analysis. Overall sales for the center increased 21.3 percent during the run of the event. Free publicity on television and in newspapers is valued at $95,000.
Next time. Operate the event longer than its three-week run.
Look for more successful mall events in the "Around The Industry" section of future issues of Shopping Center World.