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NEW YORK Putting a retro spin has been a popular way to rejuvenate a brand. But if a brand’s heyday was less than 10 years ago, is it really time to recycle the idea? Ragdoll Ltd.—the creator of Teletubbies—is trying that feat, and paired up with Grand Central Marketing for a lively (and somewhat silly) marketing campaign to breathe life back into the BAFTA-winning toddler-targeted show.
As this year also marks the 10th anniversary of the kiddie program’s debut, the U.K.-based company went all out, partnering with Isaac Mizrahi to produce five Teletubby-inspired handbags and sending the four characters on a tour of Manhattan landmarks. The actors who played Tinky-Winky, Laa-Laa, Dipsy, and Po even removed their costumes (a first) for an interview on the Today show on Thursday.
At the center of the promo is a pop-up store in the West Village, which opened with a party on Wednesday night and will close on April 7. Converting 350 Bleecker Street—once occupied by Kim’s Underground Video and last used for an Altoids promotional campaign—into a fashionable setting was the biggest hurdle. Ted Skala, director of design and production for Grand Central Marketing, conceptualized the retail space. “I didn’t want people to come into a store designed as a playland, especially because I knew that was what they were expecting,” Skala said. “Instead, I wanted to pull from the childlike elements of the Teletubbies brand and add a twist to it with a decor that would be appropriate for an older crowd.”
Photos: Andrew Marks/Retna (Times Square, sketches, food), BizBash (all others)