Moose Toys' Claire McGarry on why immersive experiences are vital for brands

Brand extensions are a sure-fire way of keeping fans engaged, and with more pop-up stores and cafés cropping up weekly, it seems this method has proven to be a real success. Claire McGarry, global head of girls at Moose Toys, reveals why the Shopkins pop-up café has been such a triumph
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Various brands have begun to launch cafes, from Pop-Tarts and Hello Kitty to Shopkins. Why do you feel this brand extension is becoming more popular? 

We want to provide our fans with immersive experiences with a brand connection. We love the idea of a pop-up café as it gives us an opportunity to have fun with fans at any given moment, at any place in the world, without being tied down to one permanent location.

Who knows where a Shopkins Café may ‘pop up’ next? By delivering premium events brands can ensure that their fans stay engaged.

How successful has the Shopkins café been so far?

We were floored by the response from fans – we never anticipated the reservations being booked up in 60 seconds. We also have over 4,000 families on the waiting list. We know that people love our brand but this response was unprecedented.

We know that our fans are going to love this café and one of the reasons we created it was so we had a way to say ‘thank you’ for eight Seasons of love and support. The best thing about the pop up is that anywhere could be next so stay tuned for more exciting developments.

What are the benefits of launching brand extensions such as a pop-up café? 

It is a great opportunity to showcase the new season release in a unique way. And we wanted to find a way to take our fans on their very own World Vacation – this seemed like the perfect way to do it. It is also a way to celebrate some of the fantastic licensed products our partners worldwide are creating.

Shopkins has become so much more than just a tiny toy in a tiny shopping basket. The World of Shopkins now includes beloved characters, top-selling apparel, movies, songs and so much more and this pop-up café brings all of that to an experience under one space. 

We want to provide our fans with immersive experiences with a brand connection. We love the idea of a pop-up café as it gives us an opportunity to have fun with fans at any given moment.

How can other brands get on board with this type of idea?

We see lots of great examples from brands around the world, certainly taking inspiration from global events and fashion trends. It is really about being creative and considering what fans want. And what they want is a variety of ways to interact with their favourite brands.

Why is it important to offer fans a virtual experience, such as a café, to enjoy? 

For the past couple of years, we have been hosting an event called Swap-Kins in partnership with Toys R Us. It’s a nation-wide event where fans come to their local store to trade their doubles and help each other grow their collections.

We kept getting emails and messages from parents and their kids about how much they loved meeting other fans, and it dawned on us that with all the media and digital marketing touchpoints, we don’t create enough opportunities for fans to physically interact with the brand.

That inspired us to bring the Pop-Up Café to life, as a very special thank you to show our fans how much we’ve appreciated their passion for Shopkins.

Photo credit: Sung Han


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