Case Study

Nickelodeon takes SpongeBob Gold to Wonderland

Online shopping may be an easy way for consumers to buy into the latest trends, but brands can lack a connection with fans that only in-store experiences can bring.

Nickelodeon takes SpongeBob Gold to Wonderland

When Nickelodeon was launching its SpongeBob Gold fashion collection on online fashion retail platform Farfetch in May, it wanted to create a real-life "moment" for fans of the cartoon.

The Viacom-owned TV network partnered Wonderland magazine at its pop-up store on London’s Piccadilly to stage an activation featuring a printing station, devised and delivered by experiential printing agency YR Live.

This allowed visitors to design their own luxury merchandise featuring SpongeBob SquarePants-themed artwork, using touchscreens and custom design software. The shop was also decked out with themed decorations, and visitors had the chance to pose for a photo with a life-sized gold SpongeBob character.

Creating a sense of occasion

"Wonderland is such an established name in fashion that its pop-up store seemed like an obvious location," Tom Gunn, senior international brand director, Nickelodeon and Viacom consumer products, says.

"With SpongeBob Gold, we really wanted to help cement SpongeBob as a fashion icon – he has been the inspiration for so many great collaborations over the years with the likes of Moschino, Pharrell’s Billionaire Boys Club and A Bathing Ape.

He adds: "Experiential is so important to all brands these days, but when you’re selling higher-price items like those included in the SpongeBob Gold collection, we really wanted fans to feel that they were buying into a real occasion. We created SpongeBob Gold to celebrate SpongeBob’s positivity, his optimism and his heart of gold."

Challenges and results

The main challenge was working with all six international designers who contributed to the 27-piece collection, ensuring that all the products were ready for the launch date.

A launch party was held on 18 May to unveil the in-store collection – Huw Gwyther, managing director at Visual Talent, publisher of Wonderland Magazine, says the addition of this alongside the pop-up shop ensured a great experience for all.

Gunn adds that the results of the pop-up included some great sell-through of the product and press coverage on the launch. SpongeBob Gold is an 18-month activation across products but also supported internationally by the Nickelodeon networks.

The Wonderland pop-up, as well as a showcase at February’s London Fashion Week, marked the early days of the campaign, with SpongeBob Gold collections being showcased with local designers in Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia and China across the rest of 2017.

"What we’ve learnt from the campaign is that with collaborations and pop-up spaces there is no one way to do them and that the creative possibilities are endless," Gunn says.

Nickelodeon and Wonderland worked with agency Glue Creative and production agency Blonstein’s to create the pop-up store and bring the space and collection to life.

This article is part of a special report on cross-brand collaborations