Cheryl Hunter (shelflife at’s weekly pick of all things new in retail — consumer products launches, retail news and FMCG campaigns!

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SA gets its first Lego Certified Store

South Africa’s first Lego Certified Store opens in Sandton City this week, following a multimillion-rand investment between The Lego Goup and The Great Yellow Brick Co. This signals the Danish company’s recognition that SA is ready for a premium toy experience in an exclusively branded retail outlet.

LEGO store coming soon at Sandton CityWhile Lego products are available at independent toy retailers elsewhere locally, this is the first Lego Certified Store on the African continent, too; similar stores are found in 20 other countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, Middle East and North America. Lego Certified Stores are designed by The Lego Group, and adhere to store fit-out and experience guidelines, stipulated by the group to maintain its focus on playfulness and creative experiences, rather than on conventional retail principles. Created as experiential playgrounds for Lego fans old and new, certified stores are meant to offer unique features not seen in independent retailers.

Says Jonathan Sinden, COO of Sandton City’s co-owners, Liberty Two Degrees, “Sandton City is the perfect location for this flagship store. With the recent launch of Sandton City’s Fun District, a level dedicated to family entertainment, the introduction of a Lego Store enhances the centre’s offering for children.”

The playful and personal retail environment aligns well with 2018 retail trends, which include product and experience personalisation, augmented reality, and the popularity of carefully curated product ranges — all of which are key elements of a Lego Certified Store. The Great Yellow Brick Co, founded by Robert Greenstein, Hayley Greenstein and Greg Bergh, will also be transferring the experience of a Lego Certified Store to the online world, offering online shoppers in SA access to the most-extensive Lego range available in the region.

Greenstein says: “We won the license to open Lego Certified Stores because of our extensive retail experience, our understanding of retail trends, and the value we placed on nurturing our relationship with the parent company. The Lego Group is still a family-run business, even though it was named the world’s most-powerful brand in 2017, and holds relationships and a sense of fun and play at its core. We aligned perfectly with this philosophy and look forward to helping South Africans build anything they want to with Lego products, over and over again.”

The Great Yellow Brick Co will open additional certified stores throughout South Africa in the future, expanding its investment and creating up to 20 new jobs per store.


Haute Elan brings modest fashion to CT

Modest fashion leaders, Haute Elan, has made its first foray into the South African market this month with an exclusive limited-time-only boutique in Artem Galleria in Sea Point, Cape Town, set to run until 18 December 2018.

Haute Elan collagePrimarily a luxury online eshopping platform with physical locations across the UK, Haute Elan showcases more than 200 emerging, independent, and established modest-wear designers from all over the world. The platform offers a customer-oriented and tech-focused shopping experience, targeting the £2tn Muslim marketplace in particular.

The past few years have seen household names in fashion, such as Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, and Mango, launching modest clothing lines. But many have critiqued the ranges, saying Western brands have misunderstand the tenets of modest wear, often only offering shapeless and dull clothing.

According to Roshan Isaacs, Haute Elan South Africa director, this is what makes Haute Elan different to the new entrants into this market: “Founded in 2013 by Romanna Bint-Abubaker, [who had] identified a niche for a truly global platform to present modest fashion, Romanna wanted to showcase that women could be beautifully elegant while maintaining their modesty, whether it be for religious reasons or personal preferences. Haute-Elan receives great support from the South African market. As such we decided to augment the offering to this customer base by bringing the luxury store closer to home.”

Isaacs says that details about the first flagship stores to be launched in Cape Town will be announced shortly.



Mrs Balls relaunches on small screen

Tiger Brands’ 147-year-old flagship brand, Mrs Balls Chutney, has taken to the small screen to reinforce its stature within the category.

While SA’s favourite chutney currently dominates consumers’ pantries with almost 70% of the market by volume and 74% by value (Nielsen, MAT April 2018), the brief put to FCB Joburg’s team was to relaunch Mrs Balls to gain penetration and grow brand love within the urban black market. The agency’s solution is a 30-second TVC currently flighting on SABC, and DStv channels. It shows how close the relationship is between Mrs Balls and South Africans from all walks of life, as ‘The Mrs’ turns the moments and meals you like into those you love.

According to Greg Cameron, FCB creative director, the idea uses a classic track and gives it a twist, much like Mrs Balls is a classic in a contemporary world: “The scenes show that, once a person loves Mrs Balls, the bond cannot be broken. There was great chemistry and humour between our cast that came though naturally on the day, resulting in a strong performance.”

Directed by Mzi Khumalo of Darling, with editing and post-production by The Upstairs Ludus and Fuel Content, the TVC features the 1972 R&B hit by Billy Paul, “Me and Mrs Jones”.



Cheryl HunterShelf Life is’s weekly column covering all things retail. Notify us of yours at shelflife at marklives dot com. Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Cheryl Hunter (@cherylhunter) has written for the South African media, marketing and advertising industries for more than 15 years. A former editor of M&M in Independent Newspapers and contributor to Bizcommunity, AdFocus, AdReview and the Ad Annual, she has also produced for various television networks and currently consults on communication strategy and media liaison.

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