VMSD - July 2013 - (Page 20)
S PE CI A L REPORT : VISUAL M ERC HA N DISIN G TR E N DS
Young visual merchandisers are
integrating social media and design.
By Steve Kaufman, Editor-at-Large
There’s a new generation of visual merchandisers
who’ve grown up with iPhone apps, social media,
texting and tweeting. And they’re bringing this
knowledge to in-store life, with exciting programs
that bridge the world of mannequins and window
displays with the world of digital technology.
Gina Mercatili, 23, is part of that generation, a
recent graduate of the visual merchandising program
at the LIM College in New York. She’s working as
merchandising coordinator at the Barclays Center in
This is not, however, some compromise position
for a young visual merchandiser until the tough job
market improves. What Mercatili does – promoting the brands of the Barclays Center, the borough of Brooklyn, the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn Boxing and Brooklyn
Hoops (plus the National Hockey League’s Islanders
in 2015) – is a perfect window into what visual merchandising has become today.
An increasing number of today’s young professionals see their job as strategic marketing, promoting the essence of their brand, whether it’s a department store chain, a line of apparel or a sports venue
in a borough desperate for national recognition since
the Dodgers baseball team fled town 55 years ago.
They don’t see it as selling a sweater, they see it as
selling an idea. And the young practitioners who are
doing the work tend to agree.
“Visual is no longer just about what product
you’ve decided to put on your focal ‘third window’
20 JULY 2013 | vmsd.com
table, but what story you want to tell,” says 34-yearold Faith Bartrug, owner of Faith Bartrug Design
For Mercatili, that story is the return of major
league sports to “I-Get-No-Respect” Brooklyn,
which, after all, would be the fourth-largest U.S.
city if it were not part of New York – there are 2.5
million people for whom the borough is not simply
an address but an identity, an emotional connection.
Her first assignment was the arena’s kickoff
marketing campaign, called “My Borough is Thorough.” Mercatili worked to oversee the introduction
of a line of community-centric T-shirts that called
out “Hello Brooklyn,” “Hello Flatbush,” “Hello Bed
Stuy,” “Hello Coney Island” and several other neighborhood references.
And while Mercatili was busy driving consumer
acceptance of products and developing planograms
for her two Nets stores, one at the Barclays Center
and one in Coney Island, she was also using today’s
all-important digital technology and social media.
“During the NBA playoffs in the spring, I ordered
shirts that said #helloplayoffs,” she says, “and invited
people to text ‘shirt’ for a chance to win a free one.
That allowed us to grow our digital fan base and follow up with retail-specific team news blasts.”
She used HTML to design emails with trackable
links so she could measure how many people clicked
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - July 2013
VMSD - July 2013
From the Editor
Vmsd Editorial Advisory Board
Chambers of Fashion
VMSD - July 2013