Why a London agency took over a Carnaby Street shop to sell branded merchandise

CRM agency Lida, part of the M&C Saatchi Group, has taken over a London shop to raise awareness of its rebrand.

At a Carnaby Street store, run by We Built This City, the usual souvenirs, gifts and art prints, were replaced with agency branded items.

The agency's new ‘make work people welcome’ mantra inspired the store takeover and the creation of limited-edition prints, postcards, pins and patches, to see how it resonates in the real world. It was integrated with the pre-existing merchandise to see if shoppers would buy the into the new brand, and it turned out that many did, including the design of the most popular poster of the week.

Ben Golik, chief creative officer for Lida worked behind the counter through the week in order to gain first-hand experience of the reaction customers had to the items on display. “When it came to launching our new positioning, we wanted to treat it like any piece of work where normally we talk to customers,” he explained of where the idea for the activity,” he explained, adding that customers looked at products designed by the agency which examined the agency’s point of view and was placed there to provoke thought and perhaps commerce.

Jonathan Goodman, chief executive of Lida, also explained: “We believe that we need to be respectful and consider the real person. It’s about understanding humans and not getting lost in the marketing machine. We will be a beacon for those brands that genuinely believe that we need to have the respect and the empathy for real people, not for slices of data that we can see on a spreadsheet.”

Proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will go to Create Arts, a charity that aims to empower lives through creative arts.

Customers spoke about their thoughts on the store and why they purchased the items they did in the specially created video about the experience.

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