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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Using Malls As A Lead Generator (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ibm_usa
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So I came up with the idea of contacting a few malls in hopes that I could set up for a day to bring about public awareness of who I am and what I do in a city not too far from where I am. I managed to email the managers, only got a reply from one and was interested the idea but mentioned rates on a space. This struck me as being odd in that I wouldn't expect that. I've never used a mall venue to promote myself before but I thought it would be a good way. Has anyone out there done this?
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
ibm_usa
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I asked the manager about the rates and got a vague response but it seems like hes open for negotiations....
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
Mindpro
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I worked malls extensively for much of the 80's and 90's during their heydays. Malls are primarily interested in only two things - renting every inch of space possible (even a small kiosk typically went for $3000-$3500 per month in most malls, and leasing exhibit space for weekend and special events and promotions. They are a landlord and rarely much else. I was fortunate enough during this time to create a business plan based around these two items and became quite successful touring hundreds of malls in the day. Times have changed, malls are less popular, less tenant occupied, and yet malls still typically charge the same-ish rates.

Rarely are they just interested in promotional offers. It must be based around what's in it for them and measurable financial gain. When I did my shows we typically, regularly and consistently drew 2500-5000 people per day and I guaranteed them thousands in press and media coverage. It was a win-win plan that they couldn't say no to. But again, times have changed but I have considered the mall market again with some updates for the new landscape.

I'd be very interested in what you find with your efforts. Best of luck!
Gerry Walkowski
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Mindpro,

You're bringing out the nostalgia in me. Smile

While I never performed at a mall, I just never really wanted to, I remember the days when shopping malls were the "Big Thing."

Some malls still have shows at Christmastime. Some malls have Monday morning shows for pre-school children, but it's nothing like it was years ago.

Years back I remember seeing many magicians and novelty acts at the shopping malls.

One of my favorites was when magicians were touring malls to promote Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Thanks,

Gerry
Ken Northridge
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Nostalgia, yes. One of my first public shows was in a mall.

I'd be very careful about paying for exposure.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
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Mindpro
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I agree. Malls used to have very strong kids programs, most had a center court area with a stage, and most management used everything form costume characters and magicians to Elvis impersonators to celebrities (soap stars, spots stars, etc.) Malls were an actual market. They HAD to have promotions and entertainment.

Most were managed by the mall giant Simon Management, others were independent. They had major advertising budgets. But like many other markets (tourist areas, Las Vegas, etc.) today they are all pay to play and not much more. I still keep in touch with many of the mall managers from the old days and they too dislike how it has all changed, become more corporate, is about rents only, and how management really does little to support the success of the tenants. Center court stages have been replaced by water fountains, coy ponds, and sitting areas. Great food courts have gone, and even some big anchors like JC Penney's and Sears are nowhere the same.

It has all changed. I was told a few years ago there was a small upstart company that was going to start a brand of retro malls with the approach and feeling of the "golden years" of malls but it's been very quiet lately.

We toured malls annually, arriving at each mall on Thursday night or Friday and staying through the weekend. One of my companies, my production company used to produce celebrity appearances, family fairs, health & wellness fairs, wedding & Bridal Shows, Camping & RV shows, Arts & Crafts Shows, Classic Car Shows, Talent & Model Searches, Sports & Collectible Shows and of course Santa & Santa Workshop and the Easter Bunny leading up to Easter, the huge Back To School Fashion Shows, and all types of Vendor Fairs and events. In the heyday they paid us handsomely to come in to do these weekend events. Then eventually they wanted us to lease the mall for the weekend, which of course was an entirely different game, and the beginning of the end.

For many malls we ran their Kids Connection, which was always quite successful. Parents could drop their kids off while they shopped. We had activities, rides, education, entertainment, but their interest in this today is zilch. Only well-knows charitable groups can get into malls these days like the Red Cross, United Way, etc. I just this past February read an article that many malls won't even let the Girl Scouts in anymore to sell their cookies as they always have. They wanted to charge them some outrageous cost to do so.

Of course tenants are going back to revitalized downtown areas or strip centers again. It's really too bad as shopping malls were so much fun, people had money to spend and the would come for the day to shop, eat, enjoy the promotions, and it was really booming. Not so today. I just can't see how they would be interested in helping a local magician. My guess is they would immediately go to trying to rent you a kiosk. There are some back door ways I would suggest attempting but for the mos part the mall market is all but gone. Even the discount malls, which really aren't much of a discount at all, but rather discontinued and damaged/defective merchandise, doesn't do very much these days with entertainment. Perhaps in some tourist areas. Magic shops in malls became too expensive (rents) to remain, so they mostly gone. It really is a shame.
thomasR
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I've had some luck with malls. You need to get ahold of the malls marketing or "special events" manager. (Depending on the size of the mall). In my experience, as long as the show is big enough that the mall can promote it on their e-blasts as an "event" they will be happy to have you as long as you provide proof of insurance. If your show is smaller, (strolling etc.) they may be able to involve you in a larger event they have planned ( halloween trick or treat, etc.).

I've done about 3 malls shows in this manner. Crowds were decent... nothing big but people indeed saw the show and asked for cards.
Gerry Walkowski
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I yearn for the good old days.

Gerry
ibm_usa
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I figure I'd give you all an update since I last posted.
I completely forgot that I had ever done this. Last year I didn't see how this would have worked the way I intended so I did not go any further.
A year later I've been to the same mall several times this year and every visit there is a balloon artist blowing up and sculpting balloons. I never talked to the guy because he always had a big crowd / line leading up to him. I have been studying and practicing cold reading so I think I maybe able to make something like this work (a la Richard Webster's Quick & Effective Cold Reading)
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
Dick Oslund
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I fully concur with Mindpro! He has "been there and done it"!

Across the USA are closed malls! "Monuments" to what once was!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dannydoyle
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The internet has destroyed many if not most malls.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dick Oslund
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YUP!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
thomasR
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The touristy malls seem to be doing better than ever. I'm talking about Mall of America, Disney Springs in Florida, Downtown Disney in California, and the "Mills Malls" (there's one in Nashville, Baltimore, Dallas... I'm sure many more.) The malls that have gimmicky restaurants like Rainforest Café and such...
Dannydoyle
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Yea those have poor occupancy.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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What do you mean? The stores are all filled at most of those locations.
Dannydoyle
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In malls across the country occupancy is down. Many keep a presence mainly because of how it would look if they left.

Plus you site the exceptions not the rule. Destination malls are 100% different from what were most shopping malls.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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I agree, you can't base the current market or position of malls on these destination or signature locations. Rain Forrest Café for example has had some terrible times going from near 70 locations to now just 26, and this only after Tilman Fertitta jumped in to save the final ones left by buying the remaining locations.

There are many misconceptions and misperceptions about malls and the mall market. Nationwide malls are operating at 40% or more vacancy, with more malls closing each year than ever before. The tide has shifted. In the 50s and 60s everything was hopping in downtown areas. Then the shift went to shopping centers, then to the new shiny indoor malls, then came super or mega-malls, then outlet malls, now the trend is back to strip centers and independent locations - IF such companies and stores are even surviving the online shopping boom, which is the greatest hit to the mall market.

Unfortunately, when trends move away from malls, their rents and fees don't change or drop accordingly. Even the larger malls like Mall of America, Woodfield and other token, signature malls are also having a variety of different kinds of problems. Someone was just killed at Mall of America, gangs, non-producing merchants associations, etc. Even in tourist areas, there are many more things pulling visitors away from the malls.
thomasR
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Quote:
On Dec 5, 2017, Dannydoyle wrote:
Plus you site the exceptions not the rule. Destination malls are 100% different from what were most shopping malls.


Yes. That was my intent. Hence why I began with "touristy malls seem to be doing better than ever" to point out which malls are doing good. I then gave examples to avoid confusion.
Dannydoyle
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They are in no way doing better than ever. Even your Rainforest example is down by about 2/3 in locations. How is this better?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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Mall of American and Disney Springs (and presumably other destination malls across the US) still have a large number of people visiting every day. They both have recently expanded. They both appear to have near 100% occupancy of stores.

Based on the fact they have both expanded recently, still have a high number of daily visitors, and still have near 100% occupancy I would say they are most likely doing better than in the past. But perhaps you would like to explain how that is flawed thinking?
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