Brands are adding extra interest to activations and physical locations by bringing animated characters to life

Brands are broadening customer engagement beyond products and services with physical experiences that shed light on a brand’s personality and lifestyle.

Retailers are continuing to develop new methods of interaction between the consumer, products and brand itself. One way of accomplishing this is by fostering interactions with recognizable licensed characters in a physical retail setting to draw a closer communication between the brand and the customer's animated friends. Here's how three companies are bringing their characters to life:

Hello Kitty Cafe
Japanese company Sanrio opened a Hello Kitty Cafe at the Irvine Spectrum Center in California, which features a grab-and-go area out front and a reservations-only experience in the The Bow Room. Serving afternoon tea by day and a premium cocktail service by night, The Bow Room opens via a plain white door with a gold bow-shaped knocker and showcases sleek Hello Kitty-branded fixtures, inviting fans into a real life brand experience.

Cartoon Network Hotel
American television channel Cartoon Network plans to open a hotel design to be a premier family lodging experience in Summer 2019 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In a partnership forged between Turner’s Cartoon Network and Palace Entertainment, the hotel will immerse guests in the animation and antics of characters made famous on the Cartoon Network. Guest rooms and suites will feature interchangeable show theming that can be customized around children’s preferences to make each visit a new adventure. The hotel’s indoor and outdoor amenities will include an outdoor amphitheater, swimming pools, water-fun zone, Cartoon Network store and more.

Toy Story-Themed Hotel
Disney is opening a Toy Story-themed hotel in Tokyo during the 2021 fiscal year. Tokyo Disney’s Toy Story hotel will be designed to look like it’s made of toys — from the hotel exterior to its spacious gardens. The rooms, of which there will be about 600, will take their inspiration from Andy’s bedroom; “colorful furniture” and “other immersive features” plucked from the Toy Story universe will fill the spaces, and characters like Woody and Buzz will make appearances. Shopping and dining options will also be available.

These are just a few examples of how brands are generating lifestyle immersion. For more examples, download PSFK's Building The New Toy Experience report.