MAKING MUSIC: McArthurGlen Group, which owns and operates designer discount outlets across Europe and in Canada, is putting its money behind music — and a variety of other cultural pursuits — in a bid to woo consumers with more than fashion.
This week the company is unveiling the first fruit of its new collaboration with Universal Music, a multimillion-dollar international campaign that features the American singer-songwriter Norma Jean Martine performing her version of the 1990 George Michael song “Freedom.”
The spring campaign will be broadcast on TV, radio, cinema and digital channels throughout the year in nine countries, including Italy, France, Canada, Germany and the U.K.
The campaign was directed by the fashion photographer Nick Haddow, and will appear on networks including ITV in the U.K., Sky and Discovery in Italy, and WD2 and RTL in Germany.
The track is also selling via iTunes and is available to stream on Spotify. It has already had 350,000 downloads since its release earlier this month.
Martine is a London-based singer songwriter from New York, via Nashville, who has worked with Burt Bacharach, and written for artists including the U.K.’s Ronan Keating and Italy’s Giorgia and Marco Mengoni.
Her debut album will be released later this year.
Talking about “Freedom,” Martine said “the track feels as relevant today as when it was first released 25 years ago.” She will also be performing at McArthurGlen’s summer 2016 festivals in Serravalle, which is located between Milan and Genoa, and Noventa Di Piave, near Venice.
Martine is not the only cultural act that McArthurGlen has in the pipeline: Earlier this year, the group announced a three-year partnership with Teatro La Fenice in Venice.
Throughout 2016, musicians from La Fenice will perform at the Noventa di Piave outlet. In July, it will host “The Spirit of Music in Venice,” which will feature some instrumentalists of Teatro La Fenice.
Starting in June, the Serravalle outlet will host its annual summer music festival, and McArthurGlen is working with Universal on the lineup of singers. The summer music festival is held in all five Italian centers and runs throughout the season.
The group will also be present at Milan’s furniture fair in April, sponsoring the creation of a light installation at the Triennale Design Museum. Mario Airò will create an installation to be displayed on the Triennale Terrace, on the top floor of the museum.
In the U.K. this summer, the outlet centers will also be celebrating 100 years of the writer Roald Dahl with activities and interpretations of Dahl’s off-kilter stories.
The company manages 22 designer outlets in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K. They stock some 900 luxury and premium brands, ranging from Giorgio Armani and Prada to J. Crew and Coach.
Seven new outlets are under construction including one near Aix-en-Provence and Marseille; Malaga, Spain; two in Istanbul, Turkey; one near the German cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf; another in Ghent, between Brussels and Bruges; and one in Normandy, France.