Galeries Lafayette is a high-end French department store with its flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. This holiday season, to boost foot traffic and raise awareness of an environmental cause, the store has set up a display called Amazing Arctic Christmas which tells the story of a family of polar bears venturing away from the North Pole, due to melting ice caps.
The polar bears’ story is brought to life in front of shoppers’ eyes with a mobile experience accessible in-store that uses augmented reality to create an arctic environment indoors. The idea behind the project is to drive customer engagement which often lends itself to more visits, more purchases and higher gross profit over the long term.
The windows were unveiled on November 8 with French actress Audrey Tautou there to cut the ribbon. The display is made from intricately cut white paper by artist Lorenzo Papace. The paper has been transformed into shapes that relay the story of the family of polar bears’ trip to Galeries Lafayette where they find an ice field made just for them.
The bears then explore Galeries Lafayette’s floors before setting off back to the North Pole.
There are a number of interactive touch points for visitors to engage with. Created by reality startup Sky Boy, customers can engage through a mobile app download or by using tablets provided by Galeries Lafayette. By pointing their device at a piece of paper in the design, a 360-degree experience begins. Polar bears on their screen walk through virtual snowflakes, climb the Christmas tree and begin to walk on a bridge toward the viewer.
Galeries Lafayette partnered with nonprofit Wild-Touch who have a photographic exhibition in-store from their 2015 Wild-Touch Antarctica expedition led by Luc Jacquet. Wild-Touch is also hosting in-store conferences and workshops for children to help extend the message of global warming and the need for protection of the planet’s biodiversity.
The paper display created by Mr. Papace will be auctioned off by the department store with proceeds going to Wild-Touch.
While Galeries Lafayette might have good intentions of raising awareness of climate change, the display seems more of a way to delight and interest visitors with designed paper structures rather than raising and making a real positive impact on environmental issues. The beautiful display is just that: beautiful. It does not really give a real picture of the destruction of arctic environments or more importantly have a strong call-to-action for viewers.