Hamleys is one of the world’s best known retailers of toys. I am sure people who have visited London must have made a point to visit the store at Regent Street since it is one of the city’s major tourist attractions. The flagship store is the world’s largest seven floored toy store spread over 54,000 square feet. Established in 1760, the store joined hands with Reliance Retail in 2010 to enter the Indian market. The first store was launched in Mumbai in April, 2010. Later on Hamleys expanded its base and opened stores in Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. Recently the brand expanded its base in the northern belt of India and launched its biggest toy store in the country at DLF, Delhi.

Bangalore and Ahmedabad store launch Facebook Strategy

The sixth store in India was launched in Delhi on the 2nd of Feb’13. The store that spreads across 3 storeys and covers 20,000 square feet made sure that it created buzz both in traditional and social mediums. Hamleys India previously had created ample amount of buzz for its store openings in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. This time as well the marketing team wanted to repeat the same success story but with new strategies that could get them more eyeballs on social media.

“Hamleys India focused on Facebook since it has no India specific website. All the promotions and the campaigns were carried out from Facebook itself”, shared Kasturi Das, Digital Manager at Reliance Digital.

Kasturi, who had managed the campaign, shared that the brand has created similar buzz on social media for the Bangalore and Ahmedabad store launch. Along with Facebook ads and sponsored posts, a Facebook app – “Help us Get Home” was launched to build the excitement about the store launch in the respective cities.

“We shared content on Facebook, where toys would ask for help locating their home and a link was provided along with the content. On click of the link the app would ask the fan to answer two questions. One question would ask the new store’s location and the other was to share a toy that the fan had always wished to own. Lucky fans got a chance to own their wished toy”, added Kasturi.

Hamleys Facebook

In the meantime, the page kept on updating fans with relevant content about the store openings and replying to the queries posted by the fans. The responses were amazing for both the store launches.

Delhi store launch Facebook strategy

During the 6th store opening in the Capital, the team focused on building new strategies for Facebook. As usual ads were run for 2 weeks before the launch and the targeting was done for the desired target group from Delhi.

In addition to the sponsored content and ads, “Match The Tiles” Facebook app was launched. The app was a replica of the memory match up game. Fans were required to match the elements under time duration and 20 lucky fans that scored top in the matching game got a chance to be a part of the exclusive store launch party.

“The store had an exclusive invite only party a day before the store launch. The 20 lucky winners of the contest were part of the party who enjoyed a red carpet entry, gave video bytes and enjoyed the world of toys. The invited kids also got a chance to take part in The Grand Hamleys Parade and meet the original Barbie who was one of the key highlights of the exclusive party”, added Kasturi.

Besides this, the brand also promoted the store launch by printing ads in the Delhi Times. The print ad informed the readers about the campaign being run on the Facebook page.

Social media and store launches

Hamleys India, with a fan following of more than 125K, has completely focused on Facebook. The campaigns that have been designed, have got a good response from the fans since they have been designed keeping the target community in mind. With a community that consists of the age group from 13-18 years, I think Hamleys is all set to build an apt Facebook community.

Opening stores via social media or creating buzz has been a tried and tested approach. Krispy Kreme, Starbucks India are the recent brands to use social media to spread the word about their store openings.

However, the Hamleys India store launch campaign leaves us impressed with its approach and the targeted campaigns designed exclusively for the Facebook community. In a time, when we see brands creating a presence on most of the networks without leveraging the efforts, here is a brand that is using Facebook not only to connect with fans but also as a website. The effort and the creativity both are smiling out in the Facebook campaigns carried out by Hamleys India, just like the smiling toys in its stores.

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