THE JAZZ SINGER: McArthurGlen Group, which owns and operates designer discount outlets across Europe and Canada, is aiming to woo customers with more than low sticker prices.
The group has tapped the English jazz musician Jamie Cullum for its Christmas ad campaign, as it plans to this week reveal that sales in the 2015-16 fiscal year rose by 13 percent to 4 billion euros, or $4.44 billion.
McArthurGlen unveiled the first fruit of its collaboration with Universal Music earlier this year: an international campaign featuring the American singer-songwriter Norma Jean Martine performing her version of the 1990 George Michael song “Freedom.”
This month it’s planning an encore, releasing a festive ad campaign across Europe with music by Cullum, who has penned and performed “Show Me the Magic,” which fuses jazz and traditional Christmas styles of music.
He recorded the song at Abbey Road Studios, the historic recording venue that was the backdrop for Stella McCartney’s men’s wear launch last week. The ad shows Cullum singing, a big band recording the track and models posing for photographers, Christmas packages in hand.
“I loved the challenge of writing a Christmas song. Sometimes having specific guidelines, and being limited in what you can do, gets you writing,” said Cullum. He said the song took shape in his head for about two weeks, before he sat down one morning and wrote it in two or three hours. “It just tumbled out.”
He agreed to do the project, he said, as long as he could record at Abbey Road, with a full orchestra. “It was a big project and there’s real magic in that room,” he said, referring to the studio where he laid the track.
Cullum is working on songs for an upcoming ITV drama called “The Halcyon” and plans to release an album of original songs — all classic in their inspiration — in the spring.
Listeners will be able to Shazam the song via mobile, stream or download it on Spotify and iTunes starting this week and the ad will go live across most of Europe later this month.
Music — not just of the contemporary variety — is high on McArthurGlen’s agenda. Earlier this year, the group revealed a three-year partnership with Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Throughout this past year, musicians from La Fenice performed at the Noventa di Piave outlet. In July, it hosted “The Spirit of Music in Venice,” which featured some instrumentalists of Teatro La Fenice.
In June, the Serravalle outlet in Italy hosted its annual summer music festival, and McArthurGlen worked with Universal on the lineup of singers. The summer music festival is held in all five Italian centers and runs throughout the season.
As reported last week, McArthurGlen’s Serravalle outlet is the largest in Europe, and has added 135,000 square feet of new retail space and opened 40 stores.
In addition to the openings, the renovation has focused on improving customer service and incorporating art into the facilities to enhance the consumer experience.
McArthurGlen said it is fulfilling an expansion plan unveiled last year that will see its retail space increase from 600,000 square meters today to nearly 900,000 square meters by 2020, including the opening of six designer outlets in five countries and the expansion of eight of its existing centers.