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Peter Rabbit hops into Harrods in film affiliation

March 13, 2018

Peter Rabbit has landed at Harrods. Image credit: Harrods


British department store Harrods is celebrating its role in the film “Peter Rabbit” through a multichannel effort aimed at all ages.

The London retailer opened its doors for the film’s crew, becoming a character in the plot as the famous storybook protagonist pays Harrods a visit. Surrounding the U.K. premiere of the movie, Harrods is teaming with Sony Pictures to bring the world of Peter Rabbit to life through windows, in-store activations and retail theater.

"Peter Rabbit is such an iconic British character, and Harrods is Britain’s most famous store – so there was a synergy right from the start," said Beth Hodder, director of creative operations at Harrods, London.

"It was a really natural fit, as Beatrix Potter was actually a local resident, so Harrods would have been her local shop," she said. "There are references to Harrods in her personal diary from when she was a 17-year-old girl.

"She even came to Harrods, after the success of her Peter Rabbit book, to look for inspiration on how to create Peter Rabbit toys.  

"Harrods has been selling toys based on characters from Beatrix Potters’ books since at least 1910, when they appeared in our catalogues for the first time. It is great to see such a famous character back in the store after all this time."

Film placement
Published by Beatrix Potter at the turn of the 20th century, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” has become a classic piece of children’s literature. The centerpiece of the story is the hero’s antagonistic relationship with Mr. McGregor.

The mischievous title character is now the star of a 3D film starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne with voices by James Corden, Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki.

Part of the action takes place within Harrods, the employer of Thomas McGregor, the nephew of Peter Rabbit’s nemesis. Harrods allowed crews to film scenes overnight in its store, becoming the set.

"Due to the logistics involved, and the huge number of customers we welcome to the store every day, Harrods generally does not allow outside filming on the shop floor," Ms. Hodder said. "However, when we were approached by 'Peter Rabbit,' and particularly when we read the script, we knew this project was something special.

"Harrods plays such a big role in the story, it’s almost character in itself," she said.

Peter Rabbit - Behind the Scenes Filming at Harrods - At Cinemas March 16

Now, to celebrate the upcoming release in British theaters on March 16, Harrods is hosting a month-long campaign centered on the film.

Window displays recount scenes from the movie, following Peter and his friends’ travels from Mr. McGregor’s garden to its store. One of the panes allows consumers to virtually try on a pair of rabbit ears and a bunny nose, creating an interactive feature within the display.

Engaging its youngest shoppers, Harrods is hosting themed scavenger hunts every weekend through March 31. Children can work with security guards to find missing artifacts and a suspect.

Both Harrods’ Toy Kingdom and gift shop will carry exclusive film merchandise in pop-ups that resemble allotment gardens seen in the feature. The assortment includes backpacks, notebooks and stuffed animals.

Harrods also developed a mobile game, bringing the celebration to consumers’ own devices. Available via Harrods’ application, Carrot Chaos allows players to compete for prizes, including themed merchandise and gift cards.

Retail theater
Film alliances allow retailers to add a touch of drama to their displays and merchandise.

Online men’s retailer Mr Porter went from costume to collection for its second partnership with the forthcoming film “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

In 2015, Mr Porter explored its British sartorial roots through a capsule collection and content hub influenced by the feature film, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” the first film in the British spy franchise, Kingsman. Launched to coincide with London Collections: Men, Mr Porter’s Kingsman 2015 capsule collection celebrated the “classic British gentleman’s wardrobe” (see story).

Department store chain Saks Fifth Avenue’s latest holiday campaign wove a fashion fairytale in homage to Disney’s classic animated feature “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

The retailer’s “Once Upon a Holiday” campaign featured window displays that recreate the feeling of the film through animation, custom gowns and art. Commemorating the movie’s 80th anniversary, Saks’ campaign leaned on Disney magic to inspire shoppers of all ages (see story).

"Visitors of all ages from across the world come to Harrods expecting a magical experience, and we are committed to helping families create memories for years to come," Harrods' Ms. Hodder said.