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First there were Flagship stores, then Experience stores, then BEING SPACES and now… Brand spaces? Coca-Cola Company in December launched Coca-Cola Red Lounges, an interesting experience-based innovation that targets teens in malls in Illinois and Los Angeles (source: Promo Xtra). The first lounges opened two months ago in Chicago-area Westfield Hawthorne Shoppingtown, Illinois, and Los Angeles’ Westfield Topanga Plaza. The move makes sense, considering Coke’s President and COO Steve Heyer’s recent statement that “the days of mass, homogenous marketing are behind us”.
The lounge areas offer exclusive music, movie and games programming from FUSE, G4, Sony, ESPN Video Games and Twentieth Century Fox and come with custom-built furniture, a plasma-screen media wall and sound domes. First and foremost a place where teens can relax in comfort, hang out with friends, socialize and enjoy great entertainment, the areas also host teen-targeted events and occasional promos awarding prizes to visitors, timed to key shopping periods. Needless to say, vending machines sell Coke, Sprite, Dasani water and Minute Maid juices.
Red Lounges are a commercial version of the ‘Coca-Cola Red Room’ which was part of the set for American Idol. The lounges were designed by the Rockwell Group, who know a thing or two about GRAND BOUTIQUE: current and past projects include Cirque du Soleil at Walt Disney World, W New York and Nobu restaurant in New York.
With virtually every consumer brand becoming a lifestyle brand, Springwise expects (if not fears) that soon every mall and street corner will have a Brand Space catering to fatigued teens: a Vodafone lounge to relax sore thumbs after too much text messaging, teen magazine lounges to promote reading from something else than a screen, and MTV lounges open to ALL shoppers to promote more understanding between Generation X and the rest of the population. The Experience Economy has only just begun!