Several people mentioned to me that Mayfair Mall was handing out flyers on Saturday during Christmas in the Ward in the Historic Third Ward. And, yes, before you complain, my wife owns a store, Lela, in that neighborhood. Regardless, I found it interesting that a mall would come Downtown to lure shoppers to its destination.
I grew up about a mile from Mayfair, but I've lived Downtown for so long that I rarely get there anymore. Plus, when I do shop malls, I'm more of an outdoor mall guy so I'd rather go to Old Orchard or Bayshore.
I reached out to Mayfair to see what they were up to. Kate Ochowicz, marketing manager at the mall, responded to my e-mail saying "as a part of our marketing efforts this year, we sent street teamers out to a variety of community holiday events including the Holiday Lights Festival, the holiday parade and Christmas in the Ward."
"Our intention," Ochowicz continued, "was to interact with people who were out and about and in the holiday spirit to remind them of the fun and exciting things that Mayfair had planned for the season."
So, was the mall trying to lure people away from the shops and boutiques in the Third Ward?
"It was certainly never our intention to lure shoppers away from local businesses, though looking back we do see how it could be perceived that way," said Ochowicz.
When neighborhood store owners and residents starting noticing the Mayfair street teams this past weekend, I saw several "get out of our neighborhood" type Facebook messages, and one has to wonder if a local store was handing out flyers inside Mayfair whether they'd be welcomed or kicked out.
Yet, I love creative marketing and street teams do work. So, I'm not knocking the tactic. And, the mere fact that Mayfair targeted Downtown and the Third Ward says that both neighborhoods are doing something right. Downtown and local businesses are huge drivers in our economy and Mayfair says it understand this.
"We understand that local businesses are a vital part of our community's economy and Mayfair supports dozens of local merchants as part of our retail mix. Moving forward, we will focus our street team efforts on more general holiday event opportunities, rather than events supported by competing business districts."
Nancy O'Keefe, executive director of the Historic Third Ward Association and BID No. 2, said she talked to the Mayfair street teams on Saturday and even asked one individual why they were targeting the Third Ward. The street team member just said that they "were hired to do this."
Mayfair seems to be done with its guerilla marketing tactics in "competing business district," but I'd like your thought on the subject. Do you have a problem with malls marketing to shoppers in our local shopping districts? Use the talkbacks to react. And, happy shopping wherever and however you choose to do it.
I like Mayfair and I like the 3rd Ward. Would guerilla style marketing by under-age kids make me choose one over the other? I think not.
bunch of cry babies. if the local stores are superior, then they'll prevail. no big deal here
i have not shopped at mayfair in years. i do all of my shopping downtown at boston store, grand avenue and other downtown stores. i believe in supporting downtown businesses including theatres and resturants. now if the marcus theatres would, finally, build their proposed movie theatre complex on water street downtown. it is badly needed. and take more people away from mayfair-- the movie theatre.
Jeff | Dec. 9, 2010 at 1:23 p.m. (report)
If downtown had a thriving retail market (indie boutiques excluded), Mayfair wouldn't feel it could muscle in on the territory. Jeff Sherman goes to Bayshore and Old Orchard? Those malls have the stores downtown should have but doesn't.
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