Retail experience

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There is sheer power in a strategically crafted master brand. Not only can it be used as a guide for all your brand communications, but the brand intelligence invested in it can be leveraged to completely transform your business. The purpose of a strategic branding program is to meaningfully, logically and visually communicate your brand’s offer, ultimately driving profitability. (more…)

Armani Hotel brand debuts in Dubai

Armani’s first hotel launches tomorrow, April 27, in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower. The project was scheduled to launch on March 18 last month but was moved with no explanation by hotel management.

The Armani Hotel Dubai occupies ten floors of the tower (floors 1-8, 38 and 39) and offers 160 guest rooms and suites. Room prices start at $US462.90.

According to a hotel management site,, the joint venture between Giorgio Armani and EMAAR Properties, EMAAR Hotels and Resorts Inc cost $US8billion! An extraordinary amount of money to be invested in anyone’s name and, in this case, Armani’s empire. However, the opulence will no doubt be jaw dropping to experience. The good news is that Pentagram New York created the naming, identity, visual brand positioning and marketing collateral which guarantees an aesthetic of grace and a degree of visual subtlety –

Milan is the next city in line for an Armani hotel followed by London then New York.

Armani Hotel, Dubai

God Bless America: Barbie wins Whopper.

retail brand design/Burger King-Whopper Bar

Burger King’s claim yesterday to the Retail Store of the Year 2009 competition awarded by US publication Chain Store Age, certainly made me curious. It so turns out that Burger King won the ‘Casual Dining’ category, making their announcement an exaggeration of convenient proportions.

More frustrating is that Chain Store Age runs the program as an open award to the industry globally, and while it kindly includes an international category, (although it is not clear if this refers to non-American clients or projects executed outside of the US), of the 19 first place winners (pardon?) and 7 ‘Honorable Mentions’, 21 are from the US.


McDonald’s super-smarted at Fashion Week

Just when you think your retail strip is looking pretty tired, hope may well be on its way. The Cool Hunter’s ideas agency called Access’ recently collaborated with McDonald’s for International Fashion Week and the result provides pause for thought.

Seriously, despite my cravings for the occasional sundae and fries, I hate McDonald’s and everything it represents and attracts, but Access’ super-smart application of creativity would make anyone rethink their order.

Described on their website as ‘A transformational ideas agency’ Access created McFancy, a retail concept for McDonald’s launched at Fashion Week. With the New York Fashion event over-shadowed by the death of Alexander McQueen, McFancy very likely didn’t get the mainstream visibility it otherwise might have (or at least not for any open-minded client to hear about).

If you haven’t already seen these fab pics, where you’ll also find The Cool Hunter/Access Agency information about the project, log on to –

I know I for one will be keeping on top of what these wildly intelligent creatives are up to next. Yes, I guess I have a crush on you all!