When LynnMall was gearing up to launch its The Brickworks dining precinct, it wanted maximum exposure, excitement and anticipation – and not just for launch day. Not only was The Brickworks bringing high quality restaurant dining to LynnMall, but just two weeks later Reading Cinema would also open at the centre providing the first movie theatre in the region in 14 years, and an ideal dining/entertainment combination.
New Zealand’s oldest American-style shopping centre, LynnMall wanted high interest from the start, and not just from locals. The mall wanted to extend beyond its ‘West Auckland roots’ and become a destination for customers from further afield who wanted to enjoy The Brickworks’ eateries, and entertainment along with shopping.
More than that, LynnMall wanted its eateries to be considered alongside Auckland’s premier ‘foodie’ destinations, such as Ponsonby Central.
Alexander PR was engaged to drive exposure for the $39 million expansion and deliver wide awareness, big opening day crowds and ongoing patronage.
With seven eateries opening from day one, Alexander PR took the opportunity in the three months leading up to the opening to provide media with profiles of the venues, which included Goode Brothers, Cleaver & Co, Wagamama, Meso, HanSan, Bodrum Kitchen and Shaky Isles.
Local, national and specialist media were provided with regular updates, including aerial photography and site visits for key media were also organised during construction. Site visits were also arranged for local stakeholders, including the Whau Local Board, ensuring they were engaged with the project and felt a sense of ownership, while also encouraging them to share updates via social media.
Additional interest was garnered through partnering with local businesses, including Auckland Transport, with posters on trains to New Lynn announcing the opening and a competition with an email sent to all Auckland Transport newsletter subscribers prompting nearly 1,000 competition entries.
Alexander PR, in conjunction with LynnMall, organised the opening – a lunchtime event hosted by Kiwi chef Ray McVinnie, complete with the ringing of a bell to signal lunchtime, followed by live music from OpShop’s Jason Kerrison.
The development attracted interest from local, mainstream and industry media, with stories appearing in media several months ahead of the opening. The initial announcement of the expansion prompted a flurry of stories by publications as varied as the New Zealand Herald, Stuff.co.nz, The Sunday Star Times, The Weekend Herald’s Canvas magazine, The Register, Inside Retail, Hospitality Business, the Western Leader and Maori Television and a number of Kiwi blogs. Social media interest was also high, with one NZ Herald Facebook post alone garnering 3,000 shares.
Coverage of the planned eateries continued as launch day drew closer, while the launch day itself saw large crowds for the opening and restaurants filled to capacity.
LynnMall’s goal of being recognised for the quality of the eateries was quickly realised, with Nzherald.co.nz comparing it to Ponsonby Central, Wynyard Quarter and City Works Depot, among others, and Stuff.co.nz dubbing The Brickworks a ‘social hot spot’.
The opening of Reading Cinemas two weeks later provided the opportunity to drive further interest in LynnMall, with an offer of $10 tickets – the cheapest cinema tickets in town – sparking high media interest, and coverage across publications including Stuff.co.nz and NZherald.co.nz.
The success of the media campaigns continued well beyond the opening days – just one month after opening, LynnMall recorded sales growth of 11.9% in December 2015 compared to the same month in the prior year.