Location Scout: New York City

Empirically proven: the Empire State’s 10 best spots to activate.

We love New York and we’re proud of it — clichés be damned! It’s the city that has everything — a concrete jungle where anything (and just about everything) goes. Here, work, play, and people come together from every demographic. The city’s variety, diversity, and unparalleled cultural cache converge to make it one of the world’s best locations for brand promotion.

Even when it’s cold.

That’s why we’ve drawn on the michael alan group’s experiential marketing experience to bring you our picks for the top 10 best spots to activate in the Big Apple.

1. Times Square

A place that’s called the Crossroads of the World probably doesn’t need much introduction. It’s the most visited location on the planet and presumably the most recognizable too. So not only is this a one-of-a-kind hub for reaching consumers in person, but it also pays huge dividends in sizzle reels.

Celebrating the 100 day countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

 

2. Union Square

Union Square is one of the city’s most beloved, most trafficked outdoor event spaces. We strongly recommend that brands add their own events to Union Square’s huge docket of movie nights, holiday markets, and al-fresco fitness classes.

A participant climbs the rock wall at History Channel's Mountain Men City Trek in New York City's Union Square.
Driving tune-in to the season premiere of Mountain Men on History Channel via an all-terrain environment.

 

3. Herald Square

Yes, we know, another square, but it would be criminal not to mention Herald. This cozy clearing — great for collateral and premium distributions — is located just a few blocks from Penn Station on one side, and a few blocks from the Empire State Building on the other side. Plus it’s got its own subway station, which sees about 38 million passengers a year.

Guests wait in line to check out Duane Reade's Red Nose Day Pre-Event Party.
Raising awareness for the inaugural Red Nose Day in the U.S. via an expansive pre-party, which was followed by a telethon aired on NBC.

 

4. Flatiron Plaza

With views of the Flatiron, Met Life, New York Life, and Empire State buildings, Flatiron Plaza delivers on classic New York iconography without feeling too commercial or touristy. It’s a great spot for a small to medium activation that needs to pack a powerful punch. Plus, it delivers a highly concentrated local crowd during lunch time.

Building awareness and driving sales for Almay beauty products via a mobile tour, kicking off in New York City.

 

5. Javits Center

If you’re of the go-big-or-go-home school of thought, we recommend the Javits Center — the glass colossus that hosts more than 150 trade shows, conventions, and special events every year. It has plenty of event and meeting spaces as well as year-round sponsorship opportunities.

Lighting effects on the floor of the TMNT hallway resemble sewer grates, further enhancing the effect of being inside the Turtles' lair.
Generating excitement around the launch of Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle revival series by giving New York ComicCon attendees a chance to be immersed in the iconic turtle sewer lair.

 

6. Time Warner Center

Time Warner has a wide variety of event spaces, with upscale environments to host groups both large and small. They all share great views of people falling in love down in Central Park and Columbus Circle.

Providing runners with an experiential hub in the days leading up to the New York City Marathon and their family/friends a place to relax and watch them run on race day.

 

7. Columbus Circle

We just mentioned people falling in love in Columbus Circle. They could be falling in love with your brand. This round-about is known to tourists for its access to Central Park, known to historians for its statue of Christopher Columbus, and known to regular New Yorkers as the best spot in the city to sit and wolf down a sandwich.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of People Magazine with crowds of consumers lining up for the buzz-worthy Tweet for a Treat social vending machine.

 

8. Varick & Canal & Grand

It might not have a snappy name, but we’ve fallen pretty hard for this large plot of land in the heart of SoHo. It’s rare to find this much space in the middle of the city, (and that means it probably won’t last long). Brands should use it as much as possible while they can.

Raising awareness for Mountain Dew’s DEWcision 2016 Campaign via the DEWggro Crag Powered by The Splat.

 

9. On The Water (and at Chelsea Piers)

We love New York and its close quarters living, but every now and then we need to get some space. That’s when we like to hit the Hudson in boats and barges. Or if you’d prefer to see the water from a distance, you can rent a Chelsea Piers warehouse that gives you plenty of room for your event and unparalleled creative control.

Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus poses with the entire class from the United Nations International School.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus with an interactive field trip for students, complete with The Magic School bus floating down the Hudson River.

 

10. Grand Central

The name says it all. From its vaulted ceilings to its frankly-insane forty-two intersecting commuter routes, this station is equal parts Grand and Central.

Encouraging consumers to recycle their old phones with Gazelle through a money machine experience, allowing them to interactively determine the value of their old phone.

If you’d like to see more details on these venues, or if you’re having trouble figuring out where in New York your brand will fit best, just drop us a line. We love to talk about this city.

Seriously. You might have trouble shutting us up.

The michael alan group is a full-service experiential marketing agency & event production company. Check out our work and our team, and drop us a line to chat about planning an activation in the Big Apple.

Location Scout: Los Angeles

The 411 on our favorite places to activate in the 310 & 818.

While we are toughing out winter over here in NYC, our hearts & minds are in the warmth of the (310). Los Angeles. Sighhhhh. As an experiential marketing mecca for many lifestyle & entertainment brands, LA is our home away from home. Especially this time of year, when we tend to hide out there.

Ever notice that somehow sitting in traffic on Broadway is not as cool as sitting in traffic on the 405? Perhaps it would be if we called it, The Broadway?

But we digress. Here’s a look at our top 10 favorite spots to activate in sunny SoCal.

1. The Grove

With its perfectly manicured grounds (and customers), this promotionally friendly hot spot is so much more than a mall. There are so many ways to activate here – plus they have a robust calendar of annual programming with sponsorship opps galore.

Driving tune-in to the series premiere of Grandfathered on FOX via our pop-up barber shop.

 

2. Hollywood & Highland

For mass national and international reach, visit the tourists trafficking Hollywood Blvd. This legendary Los Angeles locale delivers the added footfall of hip industry folks who all live, work and play in the area.

Guests continue to wait for gourmet s'mores from the Summer Camp S'mores Truck along Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Serving up gourmet s’mores for the series premiere of Summer Camp on USA Network.

 

3. LA Live

Experiential marketing belongs at a lively venue – and that’s what you get in downtown Los Angeles at LA Live. In addition to their expansive footprint, LA Live has a ton of digital billboards onsite which can be seamlessly integrated into your event.

4. Abbot Kinney

No experiential campaign is complete without a visit to Venice Beach. Perfect for the unassuming pop-up, Venice provides visibility to tourists and locals alike. Plus the friendly and honest locals are a great sounding board for up & coming brands

Providing the local community with a high-touch retail environment through the Intel Experience Store.

 

5. Third Street Promenade

Home to some of our favorite Los Angeles activations, this Santa Monica sweet spot promises consistent foot traffic for your marketing initiatives. It’s especially great for filming flash mobs or social media content, since the street is open to pedestrian foot traffic only.

A pop-up clothesline containing branded pairs of underwear tagged with information about City of Hope’s The Underwear Affair, a race whose proceeds go to fighting cancers below the waist.

 

6. Farmers Markets

Los Angelenos love their greens, as evidenced by the more than 50 farmers markets happening each weekend in LA county. Most are open to brand partnerships and provide an organic (pun intended) opportunity to sample products to a receptive audience.

Street teams infiltrating Farmers Markets with branded eco-totes in a FYC campaign for USA Network.

 

7. Universal CityWalk

Awesome for screening events, the CityWalk has a giant multimedia screen and tons of integration opportunities throughout.

Teen Nick’s Party with Degrassi Tour – a sneak peek screening of the new season complete with thousands of screaming teens.

 

8. SoHo House

Eternally cool, the SoHo house in LA maintains its cache year after year. ‘Nuff said.

Pivot’s inaugural (and bi-coastal) Upfront – live streaming New York’s presentation to attendees in Los Angeles.

 

9. Huntington Beach

Let’s talk the OC for a hot minute. Head South for a beach community that welcomes brand-sponsored entertainment and family programming.

TripAdvisor’s Traveling Movie Tour – hitting the beach (among many stops).

 

10. Americana at Brand

So often we forget about the Valley and the plethora of purchase power found just north of the Hollywood Hills! This mall, sister “brand” to The Grove, offers great activation choices.

Next week, we’ll detail our favorite places to tie one on in LA following a successful experiential marketing campaign!

The michael alan group is a full-service experiential marketing agency & event production company. Check out our work and our team, and drop us a line to chat about planning the perfect LA activation.