FROM LUXURY DAILY | DECEMBER 2016, 19
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Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship’s proximity to Trump Towers has resulted in an unlikely branding effort for the U.S. jeweler.
The jeweler’s iconic flagship, known for its cameos in Hollywood films and its annual holiday windows, finds itself on the same block as Trump Towers, the Midtown Manhattan home of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Since the election results were announced Nov. 8, protesters have been picketing outside the building, causing the Secret Service and New York Police Department to heighten security along Fifth Avenue, just in time for the holiday season.
"The truth is that politics and business do not mix, and when those worlds collide, good things rarely happen," said Rob Frankel, branding strategist & expert at Frankel & Anderson, Los Angeles. "'Cause marketing' is a huge myth, often alienating as many (or more) prospects than it might attract. "Overall, I see this less as a political statement and more along the lines of the signs you see posted when a store is remodeling, which proclaim 'Pardon our dust! We're open for business!'" he said. "Nobody really notices and business doesn't improve until the signs are removed and foot traffic returns to normal."
As a result of the extra security measures, storefronts near Trump Tower’s, including Tiffany and Gucci, which has its New York flagship within the tower, have seen decreased foot traffic as barricades deter shoppers and worsen congestion on the already busy thoroughfare in Midtown Manhattan.
Barricades along the street caused Tiffany to cancel its holiday window reveal. While the store remains in business with normal hours, its sales are expected to take a hit this year, according to CNBC.
In addition to the imposing presence of the metal blockades, security personnel have also been on heightened alert. Individuals headed to the luxury stores around the tower are the only ones getting through to the sidewalk, but this means potential shoppers enduring questioning by police before they are allowed to pass (Trump’s midtown Manhattan base causes problems for luxury retail).
Tiffany, for one, has partnered with the New York City Police Department to make the most of the security presence by designing branded covers for the police barricades.
The barricades, dressed in Tiffany blue slipcovers, have been positioned from 57th Street around to the jeweler’s entrance on Fifth Avenue, thus creating a Tiffany “safe zone.”
Doing so provides a pathway for passersby to view Tiffany’s annual holiday windows. While this solution ensures some consumers get to experience its windows, Tiffany likely missed out on the attention and crowds that make it a point to see its display this year.
The placement of the branded barricades also allows consumers to enter the flagship through its main entrance. Prior to the barricades being set up, consumers were encouraged to use the jeweler’s side entrance facing 57th Street.
In a statement the jeweler said: “Tiffany is in frequent communication with the New York Police Department and U.S. Secret Service regarding safety and security along the perimeter of our Fifth Avenue flagship. We remain open for business with regular hours and welcome customers to enter the store via our 57th Street entrance while any barricades along Fifth Avenue are in place.
“Our iconic flagship store windows, which feature sparkling scenes of New York City at the holidays, are now on display for all to see. Our façade has also been illuminated as planned.”
A digital solution has also been implemented to ensure that consumers who would rather not visit in person due to the barricades and upped police presence can still experience the windows.
Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and Cartier are among the 18 New York storefronts getting a digital audience this holiday season with help from Google. Google’s “Window Wonderland” recreates the feeling of strolling outside iconic retailers on a consumers’ desktop computer, mobile phone or tablet.
While about 5 million tourists descend on New York this time of year, many located in other cities, states or countries will not be able to get to see these in person, making this Google experience the next best thing.