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Bloomingdale’s makes store window interactive with mobile

January 27, 2010

Bloomingdale's Lexington Ave store window

Bloomingdale's Lexington Ave store window

Bloomingdale’s use of mobile marketing in its Lexington Avenue store window is an example of the way in which the channel can give legs to traditional media.

The retailer’s Lexington Avenue windows were transformed into three studio vignettes, with Bloomingdale’s, Apartment Therapy and Elle Decor each designing one room, using furniture and décor from the Bloomingdale’s home store. There is a call to action in the window display, which encourages consumers to vote for their favorite vignette via text message or online.

“The strategy for adding SMS texting as an option in the Big Window Challenge voting was to add an element of engagement at the windows,” said Frank Berman, senior vice president of marketing at Bloomingdale’s, New York.

“It allows for customers and passers-by to interact with our brand — in and easy and instant way — as they walk by,” he said. “We will continue to consider utilizing SMS voting for future campaigns where it makes sense.”

This year’s challenge features the Bloomingdale’s Interior Design team, headed by Eileen Joyce; Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, co-founder and New York editor of Apartment Therapy; and designer and blogger Eddie Ross for Elle Decor.

The only requirement in the design of each room was for the designers to include a three-drawer chest from Bloomingdale’s exclusive new Hudson Park Loft Collection.

Once the rooms were furnished using Bloomingdale’s assortment of furniture and decor, the designers were invited to bring in their own personal touches, such as favorite collections or antiques.

Bloomingdale’s customers, pedestrians, and readers of Apartment Therapy and Elle Decor are all encouraged to participate in the Big Window Challenge by viewing the windows and voting for their favorite design online at or via text message. Kaooga is powering the SMS aspect of the campaign.

Voting began on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and ends at midnight EST on Jan. 28.

Instructions for voting are featured on the Web site and in a small, introductory vignette adjacent to the three Big Window Challenge windows.

The votes will be tabulated and updated online and in the windows daily. The winning room will be announced on and on Friday, Jan. 29.

Dave Everett, CEO of Kaooga, Newton, MA, said for retailers this type of a promotion shows how SMS shines a bright light on the retailer and consumer interaction.

 “We see here that hundreds and hundreds of people are texting in daily to vote for their favorite decoration,” Mr. Everett said. “Imagine if this particular promotion had run with a major offering, store discount or chance to win, the opt-ins would have probably been tenfold.

“This demonstrates the power of text in a retail environment,” he said. “Consumers are indeed readily willing to participate in these simple promotions.

“SMS is quickly becoming a preferred method to do it because of its unparalleled simplicity.”

This is the call to action in the Bloomingdale’s window:


Descriptions of the window designs are as follows:

Bloomingdale’s Interior Design: This New York City apartment-inspired space is inhabited by a sophisticated travel magazine editor who collects objects from around the world.

The room has an early 1960’s sensibility, combining modern furnishings with a grass cloth wall covering and appliqué fabric as the window treatment. It’s a mix of primitive, Asian, folk art and vintage photography in an urban environment—all anchored by a custom-patterned area rug.

The Bloomingdale’s room will include pieces from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Thayer Coggin, and Artistica.

Apartment Therapy’s Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan: The Writer’s Library, inspired by Maxwell’s friend, Amor, is a dark, bookish den in which a romantic dinner has been surprisingly set for a female guest.

The room is piled high with books and features items that may have come from far off travels.

The side walls are painted faux bookcases for this display and inspired by the Studiolo at the MET. The room decor centers on the large, leather Ralph Lauren chair, the memorable Neisha Crosland wallpaper and Michele Varian’s funky, steampunk style.

Eddie Ross for Elle Decor: The space, designed for a media mogul and mother of two, shimmers with a mix of classic and modern, new and old, together with a balance of bold patterns and vibrant colors.

A spatter-paint print, like stars in an endless sky, reflects the owner’s love of travel to wide-open spaces, and her passion for sparkling evenings at home entertaining friends and family.

Ross will feature pieces from Bernhardt, D.I.A., and Allan Copley.

Bloomingdale’s shoppers and home design enthusiasts alike are invited to attend a special meet-and-greet with the three designers on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6:00 p.m.

Guests will be able to interact with the designers and celebrate the windows on the Bloomingdale’s 59th Street furniture floor.

“It’s amazing seeing people stop and asses each window with their cell phone in hand and text in their choice,” said Freddy Ferbert, director of business development at Kaooga, Newton, MA. “I really believe it is how they want to communicate and the number of responses has been great. 

“It adds new dimension to a formally static interaction between a store and its customers,” he said. “It has been a wonderful application for this very cost effective texting platform.”

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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One Response to “Bloomingdale’s makes store window interactive with mobile”

  1. Isaac Says:

    This is a great example of technology integrated into traditional advertising, but experience tells me voting results displayed in real-time garners an exponentially higher level of participation.

    In addition, it seems odd that (based on the image above) web-based voting is being advertised as the primary voting tool and SMS as the secondary. Doesn’t SMS provide a broader reach, specifically when targeting people WALKING BY a storefront, most of which will be holding a cell-phone, not a computer?

    All-in-all, it’s great to see the integration of advertising mediums by the big-boys!

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