If you want people to show up for your new store opening, just invite Selena Gomez. Nearly 1,000 of the actress/singer’s fans lined the corridors around, and above, and below the new Verizon Destination Store at Mall of America. Gomez popped out of a side entrance a few minutes after 5 p.m. on Wednesday looking every bit the anti-Miley in a chic black lace top and slim black pants, with hair pulled up in a playful pony and bright pink lipstick. Lest there be any thought that Gomez was really there to shop: her black patent heels were at least 5 inches high.
Gomez greeted the crowd before heading into the store with five contest winners…and about 100 Verizon execs, publicists, cameramen (most of them for Verizon), and security detail. Verizon Chief Operating Officer Marni Walden led the guided tour, which was projected on screens outside the store for the Selena fans, who kept standing there, to see. It went like this: Walden and Gomez would look at something, Gomez would try it out, share it all giddy-like with her troop of fans, and then everyone would break. Cameras needed to be repositioned, makeup needed to be touched up, water needed to be sipped through straws. Just your average shopping experience.
One can only imagine how well Gomez was compensated by Verizon for her shopping duties, but this must be said: She put in a solid two hours—touching, playing, and trying out most everything in the technology playground where shoppers can dance in front of an interactive screen to create their own animated short (expect Selena’s on Verizon’s website or YouTube channel soon, no doubt), try out a DJ station, and take a virtual stroll by the ocean shore. “This is so romantic, you guys,” Gomez said, mics in her face, while keeping pace on a treadmill in those heels.
Gomez stayed for photo ops with select fans and was whisked away moments before the store finally opened to the public at 7 p.m. The payoff for fans who stood their for several hours: A chance to win one of 100 pairs of tickets to tonight’s Selena Gomez concert at Target Center by playing a game on one of the store’s many screens. Smart marketing, for sure.
Verizon continues its star studded MOA debut today with an appearance by Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, followed by fashion editor and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia on Saturday. Details on those and other events here.