Mission launches Illusion Room for Cath Kidston

Retailer Cath Kidston has created an experiential space in its London 180 Piccadilly store to launch a new range of tote handbags.

A mother and daughter in Cath Kidston's Illusion Room
A mother and daughter in Cath Kidston's Illusion Room

The Illusion Room concept, which launched on Monday (18 August), has been created and delivered by agency Mission, alongside event production company Hothouse.

The space, which has been designed in the style of crooked rooms seen at carnivals and steam fairgrounds, creates an illusion of visitors either being huge or tiny, dependent on where they stand in the room.

It will stay open in the shop’s basement area for the next two weeks, before going on tour to nationwide locations including Southampton WestQuay shopping centre (6-7 September), Meadowhall in Sheffield (13-14 September), Bluewater in Kent (20-21 September) and Westfield London shopping centre (4-5 October).

The activation forms part of Cath Kidston’s ‘Do You Like Yours Big or Small?’ campaign, to find out what size handbag women prefer.

Sue Chidler, marketing director at Cath Kidston, told Event: "This isn't new news, the launch of a leather-trim tote bag. But in terms of product launches, it's not something we have traditionally done and we don't advertise, so we knew whatever we did around this product launch should be involving, and consumers love to engage with our brand.

"For Cath Kidston showing a picture of a bag is not enough. This activation was almost a call to action and the physical manifestation to get people involved in a conversation, as well as talk to us via social media."

Other activity forming part of the campaign includes celebrity affiliations with such personalities as Jools Oliver, Jo Whiley and Sophie Ellis-Bexter, who have revealed what they carry in their own handbags and pledged their allegiance to a certain sized bag on social media by using one of two hashtags - #totesbig or #totessmall.

The pictures of the celebrities’ bag contents will be available for the public to view in an exhibition in-store at 180 Piccadilly, which will be open for two weeks from this Thursday (21 August).

Cath Kidston has commissioned a survey to explore the way women use their handbags as part of the wider campaign to determine how important they are to them. It will also investigate what the contents say about the owner, including the monetary and sentimental value of the average woman's handbag.

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