Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, has made a historic return to the heart of Times Square in New York with the opening of its flagship store on the first three levels of the legendary One Times Square building. The store anchors a massive Walgreens billboard − the nation’s largest, most advanced digital super-sign soaring 341 feet above the street on three sides of the building.
One Times Square, nestled on the island between Broadway and Seventh Avenue and 42nd and 43rd Streets, serves as the centerpiece of the city’s famed New Year’s Eve celebration and one of the world’s most photographed and televised landmarks. Walgreens operated a store at the high-profile location for nearly four decades from the 1930s through 1970. That store can be seen in the background of the famous Life magazine photo of the sailor kissing a nurse at the end of World War II. The company sees the homecoming as an opportunity to showcase its brand to an immeasurable international audience.
“With more than 1.6 million passers-by and countless media impressions daily, this sign represents a tremendous opportunity to catapult Walgreens brand among the most recognizable icons in the world," said Walgreens president and COO Greg Wasson. “The signs will also work to build awareness for our strongest supplier partners and the brands that help make Walgreens a destination for millions of customers every day.”
The massive electronic billboard, commonly called a “spectacular,” contains 12 million energy efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) spanning 17,000 square feet, earning it bragging rights as the largest in the nation. The sign surpasses the current size record held by NASDAQ with its 11,000-square-foot digital screen built in 2000. The diagonal stripes skyrocketing 17 stories on the east and west sides of the building are programmed to display synchronized animation delivering seamless messages and images 20 hours a day.
Inside the new 16,000-square-foot Walgreens store, customers will have around-the-clock access to thousands of everyday necessities and a nationwide pharmacy network that will allow travelers to easily obtain prescription medication. Shoppers will also find a beauty department that rivals high-end department stores, convenient services including one-hour digital photo pickup and low-cost printer cartridge refills and an expanded assortment of souvenirs.
The Times Square store is Walgreens 11th in Manhattan − its 53rd across the five New York boroughs, up from 35 two years ago. The chain expects to open at least another 30 New York area stores within the next three years.
“This store represents a significant milestone in our efforts to gain a stronger presence in New York City,” said Wasson. “We’ve established a foothold in this market and now we’re focused on building convenient locations closer to more customers. We see opportunities for continued growth here and throughout the Northeast."
The drugstore chain is one of the nation’s fastest growing retailers with 495 net new stores expected to open across the country in fiscal 2009, 425 in fiscal 2010 and 365 in fiscal 2011.
“Walgreens is a trusted pharmacy and source of health and wellness information for thousands of communities across the country, and our Times Square store will be no exception,” said Wasson. “We look forward to serving the hundreds of thousands of people who live and work in one the busiest neighborhoods in the world.”
The Walgreens One Times Square spectacular was conceived and designed by strategic brand consultancy Gilmore Group, New York City. The firm supervised its construction in partnership with Walgreens and technology firm D3 LED.
“In designing the spectacular our goal was to achieve the pinnacle of urban branding,” said Arthur Gilmore, president and CEO of Gilmore Group. “We want to tell the public that Walgreens has returned and to send a message that this traditionally quiet company has aggressive plans. Walgreens is driving home this point by becoming the dominant brand presence in the center of the media universe.”
New York-based D3 LED, the designer of the hi-tech hardware and software for the spectacular, says the sign has unparalleled high-resolution graphics. To create this digital marvel, the team employed 10,987 modules, each containing 1024 to 1600 pixels.
“Not only is the Walgreens spectacular the largest display of its kind in the country, but it truly breaks the mold in the way it interacts with consumers,” said Jason Barak, founding partner, D3 LED. “Using D3’s proprietary LED technology, we created a display that virtually reaches out and grabs the attention of consumers - from those 15 feet away to those halfway across the world.”
The store will also be surrounded by 13 digital signs at street level offering a wide range of advertising options for Walgreens suppliers. Visual campaigns for mega brands L'Oreal, Johnson & Johnson, Colgate and Kraft will launch on the signs tonight.
ABC New Media Sales, a unit of ABC National Television Sales, is Walgreens exclusive sales representative for the sign.
"This eye-catching new landmark in Times Square brightens advertising opportunities for both Walgreens and its vendor companies," said John Watkins, president of ABC National Television Sales. "The sign's towering state-of-the-art video capabilities heighten the value of outdoor advertising in a truly spectacular way."
For more information on Walgreens Times Square store, its spectacular and the partners in this initiative, visit www.walgreenstimessquare.com.
For more information on Walgreen products/services, visit www.walgreens.com.
For more information on Gilmore Group products/services, visit www.gilmoregroup.net.
For more information on D3 LED products/services, visit www.d3led.com.