Westfield began life with its first shopping centre in 1950s suburban Sydney. Fast forward 50 years and the story is somewhat different – the innovative £1.7bn Westfield London development was Europe’s largest urban shopping centre and the group’s first “global flagship”. Portas was drafted in 18 months before the centre opened to develop the brand strategy and launch communications.
There were many elements that made this a complex task. The Westfield name was already above the doors of 9 regional UK centres as well as many more in Aus, NZ, and USA with the execution of the brand inconsistent throughout these locations. Because brand and marketing decisions being taken at centre level; there were a multitude of key messages against each category (food, fashion, entertainment etc.) as well as tactical communications required for click & collect, car parking, concierge etc.; further to the challenge was provided by the creation of the sub-brand,
The Village, the luxury shopping destination at Westfield London – another UK first. Portas was involved from the start, leading all B2B communications and collateral which would allow the likes of Louis Vuitton to sit under the same roof as Primark. There was also the known prospect of Westfield Stratford City on the horizon; and finally, there was the scale and breadth of the target audience within London, the UK and internationally.
We launched in 2008 with an ambition to break all the codes of shopping centre marketing and to position Westfield as a day-out destination for modern lifestyle-driven consumers. Our strategy has been to build an aspirational brand image that drives fame, whilst communicating a broad range of reasons to visit beyond shopping – from eating out, to watching a movie, spending some time at the casino, or visiting cultural pop-ups and installations. We’ve shot campaigns with the world’s best fashion talent, collaborated with agenda-setting partners and created sell-out experiences. Our work has made Westfield no ordinary destination. Our campaigns are focused on driving footfall and spend for different categories, seasons and services.
To date, we’ve collaborated with Grazia to create an issue direct from The Atrium; we’ve put on free concerts with Rhianna, Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift, Rita Ora and Mariah Carey; worked with Turner prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller to launch Louis Vuitton; created a ‘Car Boot-ique’ in partnership with Mercedes-Benz; opened a pop-up Vogue Nightclub (complete with Grace Jones performance); created the Great Eastern Food Market - an independent food destination to complement Waitrose at WSC; hosted Naomi Campbell’s Fashion For Relief shop – three times; encouraged One Direction to busk on the Southern Terrace; launched the world’s first online ‘searchable mall’; and much, much more. And whilst these are big activities, we’ve made sure that Entertainment runs throughout the tiniest thing that Westfield does – from social media TOV to specialist concierge training.
WSC was opening on the site of the Olympic Park twelve months before the games took place. With LOCOG and the Mayor of London under fire for building the park “miles out of town” we needed to change the narrative, ensuring Westfield took ownership of Stratford as a place and to dispel the myth that E20 was hours away.
We also had to build a relationship between Westfield – a classic “big developer” – and the gentrifying creative communities that made up the local catchment area. Part of our ‘Where East Meets Westfield’ vision was inspiring action. And so, Studio East was born. An initiative to support talent and ingrain the creative spirit of the local area into the fabric of the new development.
One of our latest renditions of our Destination Westfield brand platform is the first under our new ‘fame’ strategy for the iconic shopping destination. Partnering with Star Wars during the launch of Rogue One, we matched the major SS17 trends available at Westfield with different characters from the film. Spring Metallics meet C3PO.
Other campaign partnerships falling under our 'fame' banner include British professional boxer Anthony Joshua for AW17 Fashion and No Doubt's superstar Gwen Stefani for the 2017 Christmas campaign. We’re also in the midst of delivering the entire strategy and marketing campaign for the Phase 2 expansion of Westfield London, even extending to the strategy that sits around its expansion into Europe following the buyout by Unibail-Rodamco.