Several forward thinking department stores utilised the huge focus on the holiday season, (Christmas still generates as much as 30% of annual retail sales globally Fortune 2016), as an opportunity to play up their wider cultural acumen and commitment to social and ethical causes. It's an area swiftly becoming a necessity - 40% of North American study participants saying they were interested in buying from socially responsible brands (Nielsen, 2016).
From charitable VM and eco-edutainment workshops to performance concepts highlighting marginalised groups or social issues, we review the best.
- AR Storytelling to Combat Global Warming: French department store Galeries Lafayette is raising awareness of global warming and the need to preserve biodiversity with an AR (augmented reality) storytelling concept centring on polar bears, whose natural habitat is already in jeopardy. After downloading an AR app developed by French technologists Sky Boy, visitors point their device at a handmade, white paper Christmas tree in the store’s atrium (by French artist Lorenzo Papace). This activates a 360-degree VR experience allowing them to see the polar bears on-screen, traversing the snow-covered store.
Polar bear family paper art continues into the windows, while in-store the brand is hosting an Antarctica-oriented photographic exhibition, in partnership with French eco-focused media agency Wild-Touch, as well as talks discussing issues surrounding climate change. Post-Christmas all the paper art installations will be auctioned, with proceeds donated to Wild- Touch.
- Adult Narratives: London department store Selfridges is hosting a festive pantomime performance in partnership with Sink The Pink – a quarterly London LGBT club night and performance collective. Titled Down The Rabbit Hole, the adults-only theatrical satire deals with London’s property crisis.