Sweeter Than Candy
M&M’s new flagship in Minneapolis’ Mall of America makes for memorable moments
NO OTHER CANDY BRAND represents the joy and color of American culture quite like M&M’s. A sweet store staple since 1941, the irresistible candy is now among the most recognizable chocolate brands in the world. Eighty years later, M&M’s has become the new kid on the block for Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. The latest flagship, designed by Landor & Fitch, is an embodiment of what the brand is all about: fun, colorful, shareable, innovative and for everyone who loves chocolate.
“We’ve been partnered with M&M’s for years, creating stores from Las Vegas to Disney Springs,” says Eric Daniel, Creative Director at Landor & Fitch. “This location is the ‘Times Square’ of the heartland, so it was a great opportunity.”
The store is freestanding, on the edge of the Nickelodeon amusement park within the mall. Surrounded by wow-factor attractions, like a three-story glass elevator straight from the world of Willy Wonka, it had to compete. “We chose a space that could accommodate a great deal of product,” explains Daniel. “Here, presentation is on a dramatic scale.” That’s almost an understatement. Customers are greeted at the entrance with a 45-foot M&M – reportedly the largest in the world. Inside, shoppers will discover a 24,000-square-foot store plucked from their imaginations.
“We were able to do things with this store that just aren’t possible on the high street,” says Patrick McIntyre, Director of Global Retail at M&M’s parent brand Mars Inc. The interior is a white canvas splotched with spheres of yellow, red, blue and green, “capturing the joyful quality of M&M’s.” The signature Wall of Chocolate overwhelms the sightline with an explosion of rainbow hues and flavors you can’t find anywhere else, providing visitors with a unique photo opportunity. There’s attention to detail in every element, with a walkway from one zone to another transformed into a light tunnel, featuring bands of LEDs suspended under white steel, and even a bathroom with inspirational messaging reflected in the mirror. Structural elements, like the supporting beam that runs through the center of the store, do double-duty as experiences – in this case as a two-story digital screen for immersive storytelling.
“In a store of this size, where customers spend a long time, moments of rest and comfort are important too,” says Daniel. “We designed a selfie seat with a low-pitch LED backdrop to give the impression of sitting inside an M&M.”
Customers can take home a memento of their visit with personalized candies and memories from free-to-enjoy interactive experiences including the dance game “M&M’s Sweet Moves,” which is exclusive to this new flagship.
These types of connections are essential, continuing a relationship with customers beyond the immediate experience. “For Americans,” says McIntyre, “the cultural significance of M&M’s is in creating a shared experience with a bag of candies and an opportunity to connect.” In this space that invites you to have fun, to experiment, to linger, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
PHOTO GALLERY (12 IMAGES)
📷: Simon Lewis, New York
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