Interestingly Christmas this year is on the 25th December. Friday 25th of December to be precise. And I’m going to call out the first inappropriate display of Christmas, or, if not inappropriate, then premature. Father Rabbit in The Bloc had a Christmas tree on display on Tuesday 29 September, a tad too early in my books. A bit of respect people. Farmers were only setting up their Christmas store in October.
Father Rabbit just a little bit too early in my books
Farmers setting up the Christmas store Monday 5 October – that’s more like it – I’m happy to see decorations for sale but not full on Xmas displays
I’m feeling a bit bah humbug at the moment, likely as the result of low levels of Vitamin D and the grinding Groundhog Day thought of tackling another Christmas is enough to send me googling as to how the hell I get out of this place and do something different.
Retailers too need an injection, less of Vit D and more of Christmas enthusiasm and spirit. My recent fleeting visit to The Warehouse with its same as ever array of crap candy canes, tinned biscuits and boxed chocolates doubtless contributed to the slide to a state of pre-Christmas depression. That was on top of the fact that I was visiting to buy car dashboard wet-wipes and all they had on offer were no-brand and no-function products. Quite frankly I am struggling to keep the faith that any retailer here will put WOW into Christmas.
Overseas, incredible retailers are creating fabulous Christmas experiences. Some of them are emotionally charged reasons to visit, others OTT examples of indulgence and shopper engagement.
OTT example of indulgence and shopper engagement
Neiman Marcus is renowned for creating WOW factor during the festive season with their Christmas Book. If you have never seen it, this is one Christmas shop you should take time out to explore. This is a collection of the most over-the-top items to buy for those people in your life who have everything.
One of my personal favourites is the reasonably priced $150,000 Arch motorcycle trip with actor Keanu Reeves.
I am willing to share a secret which does make me just a little more excited about Christmas. Neiman Marcus’ extra special piece of retail WOW this year is on offer to the (mostly) beautiful people who download the retailer’s app. These customers get the opportunity to buy the $40,000 Memomi Mirror, which is billed as “the world’s first interactive and social memory mirror.”
Now this is something I want at home and am putting on the top of my home renovation, Christmas and indeed, bucket lists. Not only does it offer a 360-degree view of the outfit you’ve assembled, it also provides a split-screen option, to make comparing several outfits easier. And the social function makes it possible to ask for others for opinions, or even post images to social networks. My sisters in Australia would love the alert at 3am when I need their opinion on my 7am ensemble in NZ. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving.
On the off-chance that the Memomi mirror doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other options in the collection, which the company describes as full of “extraordinary luxury, whimsical delight, and state of the art technology.”
Need a few more ideas so you can get a head start on your list?
· Best ever Gift with Purchase. Spend $10,000, and get a handmade couture journal, based on paintings of my 20 most-treasured outfits, worked into a 60-sheet diary, hand-tooled in gold.
· Music fans can select a guitar from the Texas Trio — the Lyle Lovett, the Billy Gibbons or the Steve Miller. At $30,000 each, the package also includes VIP concert tickets for each musician.
· View the world from the “edge of space,” with a $90,000-per-person package that includes a 2016 behind-the-scenes invite to a World View test flight and tour of Biosphere 2 with World View CEO Jane Poyter. Then in 2017, take five companions up in a high-altitude balloon, experiencing 360-degree views of the earth.
· For $125,000, sip from the Orphan Barrel Project, which includes 24 bottles each of eight recently discovered whisky varieties, found in old rick houses. Now I am certain there is someone out there eager to cheer me up and get me in the Christmas mood so here’s a suggestion for you. A $400k dream trip to India with Neiman Marcus donating $15k to charity. I’m sure I’d pep up a little with that in my stocking and I might also get the much needed injection of Vitamin D as well.
The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. Go on, fill your boots
Emotionally charged experiences
We are yet to see the emotionally charged Christmas TVCs from overseas but I hope you all recall the best of last year including Monty the Penguin from John Lewis and Cara Delevingne prancing around for Top Shop. I can only hope and pray that a retailer somewhere in our part of the world will find the courage to follow suit or strike their own path by investing in some form of emotional engagement with shoppers; inspiring people into choosing their stores beyond reason. But until more is revealed in the coming month, I’m offering up a little inspiration on what good looks like via a recent TVC by John Lewis for their insurance offer. I know, and acknowledge fully that they enjoy revenues of $9.4b and operate in a nation of 64 million people, so they have got a bit more headroom to “inspire” than the average NZ retail business. But still my fellow retail friends, here’s to aiming a little higher this Christmas.