For Antara Polanco Mall, bubble shows aren’t just decorative touches, they’re memorable events that attract shoppers and feed social media marketing. Every April, shopping center marketing teams across Mexico engage in a fierce battle for consumer attention with special events marking El Día del Niño, the popular Children’s Day.
Antara Fashion Hall (Antara) in Polanco/Mexico City is always in the thick of it and looking for ways to stand out. The mixed use center has had success drawing crowds with MagicSnow’s special snowfall effects during the holidays for more than a decade so Alexis Ellstein, marketing director for developer Grupo Sordo Madaleno, figured he’d give a similar sensory experience a try and host sister company, Bubbleworks’ activation last spring as a lure.
That trial turned into a new signature event that it has since deployed to a few other company properties. “Our group has three or four installations now, all at shopping malls. It’s an event. In Polanco, it’s based in springtime, focused on kids and their families. It’s an experience we bring to our customers [and] we do see an increase in traffic. We see a lot of people taking pictures, shooting videos, [and] interacting with social media accounts,” Ellstein noted.
“We’ve been growing in client numbers coming into shopping malls. When we have the bubble shows going on, we can see how the parking lot is moving and see more cars staying for more time in our malls. It’s cool to watch the whole [property] filled with bubbles. It transforms the shopping mall into something different, something you’ve never seen before.”
For Bubbleworks founder, Adam Williams, the activation is ripe for the times. “With social media as a driving force at live events, Bubbleworks transforms spaces and surrounds guests with a shareable bubble experience,” he explained. “[At Antara], we had to make sure we were going to be able to deliver on the vision of filling [it] with bubbles. The shopping center is several city blocks long and would require us to install [more than] 60 bubble machines. Because the shows are timed to music, each of the [units also] has to be controlled wirelessly from a central location.
[We] provided a crew of five to install the equipment and a daily technician to make sure each of the shows went off flawlessly.”
Antara promoted its Bubble Fest online, on social media, and with traditional signage.
“The target customer at Antara is upscale and urban, so all of the marketing around the project focused on adults having fun with bubbles. This was not promoted as [only] a ‘kids’ thing, rather more about being a kid at heart,” the supplier noted in its brief. Besides Antara, Bubbleworks has brought its experiences to The Grove shopping center in L.A., the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and the Backstreet Boys show, among others.