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Sesame Street packaging gets a refresh

BY CSA STAFF

Sesame Street has tapped Parham Santana, The Brand Extension Agency, to help it refresh its licensed consumer products packaging worldwide.

Parham Santana developed unified packaging designs that focus exclusively on the iconic Sesame Street characters. The branding agency said it recognized the instant, emotional connections to the characters that people across countries, cultures and channels have with them, and chose to emphasize them, eliminating what it described as the marketing clutter prevalent in existing packaging.

“Sesame Street is a legacy brand, so we wanted to honor that heritage and began by nailing down the essence of Sesame Street,” says John Parham, president, director of branding, Parham Santana. “The emotional connection that consumers have with the characters is very strong. Their faces are like beacons on the shelf.”

Every package across every product category now features large furry photos of Sesame Street Muppet faces. These new packages also gain white space by moving educational and developmental cues to an area on the back.

“The simple, iconic Sesame Street characters ensure that Sesame Street products are instantly recognizable. There’s an immediate connection with children and grownups,” said Suzanne Duncan, VP of marketing at Sesame Workshop.

The new packaging has started rolling out with the licensed toys from Hasbro, and the rest of Sesame Street’s licensed products will follow. Parham Santana delivered comprehensive packaging guidelines for all Sesame Street products including toys, health and beauty aids, apparel and DVDs.

“As we implement the new program around the world, we continue to build our brand story and make it stronger every day,” said Maura Regan, SVP and GM, global licensing for Sesame Workshop.

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Destiny USA raises the bar

BY Katherine Boccaccio

When describing Destiny USA – the 2.4 million-sq.-ft. dining, entertainment, shopping and outlet megaplex in Syracuse, N.Y. – it’s a toss-up whether to emphasize the offerings and amenities, or highlight the project’s own brand of environmental consciousness.

Developed by Pyramid Management Group, Destiny USA is billed as the largest LEED Gold-certified retail commercial building in the world. But it is far more than an environmental leader. The circa 1990 property, which opened as Carousel Center and was rebranded to Destiny USA in August 2012, features more than 200 dining, entertainment and retail names such as Sephora, Coach, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, True Religion Brand Jeans, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, WonderWorks, Pole Position Raceway, Regal IMAX and RPX.

(If you noticed the outlet names mingled with the full-price offerings, that’s not in error. On the retail side, Destiny USA is a unique – and unexpected – hybrid of luxury outlet tenants with full-price retail.)

While today’s iteration melds the sweeping retail categories with dynamic design that includes a three-story atrium, and extras such as an interior rope adventure for kids, the property hasn’t always had this kind of cache.

Prior to the construction nearly 25 years ago of the original Carousel Center, the central New York State site was an unsightly scrap yard, landfill and oil tank farm spanning a multi-block area called Oil City. Pyramid’s founder and chairman Robert Congel had a far different vision for the area, spearheading a mammoth, three-year environmental cleanup and redevelopment effort that culminated in the Oct. 1990 opening of the 1-million-sq.-ft. Carousel Center.

Twenty years ago, that was a hot shopping mall. Charter anchors included J.C. Penney and now-extinct banners such as Hills, Lechmere and the last Bonwit Teller ever built. Lord & Taylor arrived in 1994. Not resting on its laurels, Pyramid planned a bigger, better, hotter iteration it internally labeled Destiny USA, but the plans remained tucked away until 2007, when the first phase got underway.

Over the next few years, Destiny USA took shape, as big tenant names committed and expansion square footage added a full level of entertainment, sit-down dining and an indoor outlet component. In 2011, retail openings included Lenox, Michael Kors, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, BCBG MaxAzria, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cantina Laredo and The Melting Pot. The entire facility celebrating its official rebranding to Destiny USA in August 2012, and this year will see the addition of T.J. Maxx, Fossil Outlet, Johnston & Murphy, and Regal’s IMAX and RPX screens.

Developer Pyramid, however, is as proud of its environmental undertakings as the retail and entertainment offerings.

“It was a proud moment to achieve LEED gold certification and become the largest LEED Gold certified commercial building in the world,” said David Aitken, Destiny USA spokesman. “The team at Destiny USA dedicated years to developing an environmentally friendly facility to coincide with the beliefs of the company and its founder and chairman Robert Congel.”

In fact, Pyramid had announced in late 2011 that it would seek a LEED Gold certification for the expansion portion of the project, a move that would involve a host of cutting-edge sustainable features, including a solar reflective roof, renewable flooring, a comprehensive rainwater harvesting system – and all 100 new tenants within the expansion to obtain LEED certification.

For Destiny USA leasing information, contact: Pete Berardi at 315.466.6000 or [email protected].


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Kohl’s steps up e-commerce game

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Kohl’s has opened a new IT office in the Silicon Valley to support its online sales growth and strategic focus on omni-channel initiatives, including process automation and the re-platforming of Kohls.com.

The 52,000-sq.-ft. office space in Milpitas, Calif., will be an extension of the IT team at the company’s Menomonee Falls, Wis., corporate office and will initially employ 30-plus Kohl’s associates with the potential to accommodate future growth, said the retailer.

“We know consumers are seeking a seamless experience and instant access to information whether shopping online, on their mobile device or in store,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s CEO. “We have made significant investments in our IT and omni-channel initiatives to ensure we have the platforms, technology and tools to allow customers to shop when they want and from where they want.”

In addition to the new West Coast IT office, Kohl’s said it continues to expand its operations to support its long-term growth across all of its corporate facilities, including the Wisconsin headquarters, New York design office and Santa Monica, Calif., design office. The company also reiterated its plans to add 12 stores and remodel 30 in 2013.

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