Field test number two was the intentional observation of Hamleys, with no prior code structure, or social media track.
First impressions of Hamleys are the concerted creation of a disorientating wall of noise.. The entrance to the store has a physical pressure from the sound of the pseudo carnival barkers, some well placed speakers, and conflicting soundtracks of entry/exit discussions of customers and the street noise. I’ve captured audio from this entrance (2 minutes). It’s also distinctly Hamleys with the bubble blowers. They’re a fixture to attract attention to the shop front.
The store is broken up across five floors, clustered by product, gender and brand. The basement runs to the technology, drones, and outdoor toys including Nerf. Ground floor is mixed with magic displays, teddy bears, and smaller items. It’s a draw card of activity and demonstrations to bring people into the temple, to see the Toy Priests perform their rituals. The magic card trick ritual is particularly well embedded into the store design, with the ‘magic’ playing cards embedded into out-of-eyeline locations that are drawn to your attention by the the demonstator. A good piece of visual performance.
Heading up escalator, Floor 2 turns pink, literally, and figuratively.
Coded for gender, and coded hard into This Be Girl things, it’s a floor filled with the clash between production and market. I watched young boys clamouring for the Sylvania family animals, and small bored girls wondering when they’d get to the real toys. Ascend a level, and Floor 3 turns to family games, and less gender coded, but clearly parent centric with a load of merchandise/memorabilia style products, and a “Buy something for all the family, now we just clearly made you split the genders”.
If the fourth floor, with the blue coding, was supposed to be the male floor, then Harry Potter was on the wrong floor. This is also the expensive toys division, with the high end memorabilia for Hobbit, Potter, and the like.
Top Floor was another noise wall. This is where the carnival barkers became apparent, as did their coordination when sudden lulls in noise were met by all four points in the floor starting their sales banter. It was Bantersaurus Retail in full flight. Top floor was Lego central, with the glorious Royal Lego, and the macro-figs (minifigures at scale). A minor quibble that the LEGO marker wasn’t built onto the really large X-Wing lego nubs. I’m a purists for branding.
More light data was captured, although less efficiently and consistently than preferred. Also, two audio samples were taken, which is a new approach.
Data capture for Hamley’s UK Instagram (https://instagram.com/hamleysofficial/) revealed the presence of Hamley’s Denmark (https://instagram.com/hamleysdk/) adding a new complication and opportunity for data.
Namely figuring how to put a sidetrip into Copenhagen to hit up Hamley’s DK whilst carry that backpack of mine…