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‘Chocolate’ Category

  1. Largest M&M’s World in London

    June 13, 2011 by Dini

    M&M’s World… London’s Chocolate Hotspot

    On the 13th June 2011, at 10.05am I was ready for the fanfare of the ‘Largest  M&M’s Store in the World’… but there were no trumpets or celebrity Z-listers  to cut the ribbon… alas this was just a soft-opening, with just a handful of  tourists and me.

    Even so, I ventured into the 35,000 sq foot store, with high  hope of at least getting some goodies. Having been to the Time Square (NYC) store, I knew what to expect, floors of M&M’s chocolate and every possible bit of  merchandise imaginable. This is a high energy, retail theatre store, think of  an ‘extreme’ Hamleys, if you can…

    There is a high London-centric theme, which is a real  tourist footfall and sales revenue driver. Not only are there landmark and London
    iconography (Route-Master Bus, Abbey Road etc), they’ve also created London  themed chocolate mixes. I do like this and some part of me thinks, its  inspiring timing from Mars (M&M’s parent company), to cash in with the  increased Olympics footfall.

    What I liked:

    • * The posing characters, for those touristy snaps
    • * The periscope which uses CCTV like video to spot  your friend in another spot in the store
    • * The Mix Lab (a M&M’s packet/box  customisation area)

    What I didn’t like:

    • * No flavours apart from milk chocolate and peanut  were available (unlike the NYC store)
    • * The limited amount of sampling (considering it  was the 1st opening hour) was done using a small dispenser, not  necessarily hygienic,    as all and sundry can touch it before you do
    • * Shrilly sales patter is not for me, but then I  guess I’m not their target audience

     

    I was so perturbed by the lack of flavours, I called for a  Manager…a Marketer came over from HQ (this amused me). So I explained I had been to the NYC store and had been expecting as others had been, a range of all  the global flavours displayed, this being the largest store?  Their response was… due to EU regulations  this wasn’t possible, as each pack would need to be ‘import stamped’. They were  considering introducing peanut butter, as soon as a UK batch could be  produced…and not likely to run almond or coconut. This really baffled me, had  Mars not conducted any consumer insight work? Surely a high proportion of  customers want peanut butter flavour (as it’s not the norm, one can buy here already?) – Or is it just me that harangues anyone passing through NYC to pick  me up a bag? Anyhow, I would have expected Mars to have factored this into their  NPD planning for a production run at Slough (their manufacturing site in the UK) to tie in with store opening.

    I will go back, but only once the Peanut Butter M&M’s  are in stock and until then, I’ll pop around the corner to Cyber Candy, where they stock them already (with import stickers)!

    M&M’s World
    1 Swiss Court
    Leicester Square
    London, WC2H 7DG
    Telephone number:
    0207 025 7171
     
    Opening times: Mon to Sat – 10am to 12am, Sun – 12pm to 6pm
     
    2012 update to post from M&M’s UK  (via facebook)….
    M&M’s UK Hey Dini, Red here! Great to see you made a trip to see us! (If you took any snaps, I hope you got my good side). We’ve got the team this side of the pond working on getting more of our flavoursome friends over to the UK in the future. Stick with us and we’ll keep you in the know! 16 January 2012 at 13:33
     
     
     

  2. Chocolate Waterfall by Bompass & Parr

    April 26, 2011 by Dini

    Willy Wonka Cascade in B&P Style

     

    Chocolate was definitely on the cards when I booked my £6.50 ticket (in April 2011) to go to Bompass & Parr’s experience in Whiteleys. I’m a fan of the eccentric and innovative pair, their sell-out experiences certainly wow, dial up the senses and entertain.  They are also very PR worthy, as nothing is ever the norm, but this is good pushing the boundaries, makes life more interesting…

    Sam Bompass was at the entrance greeting all, we were given rain-proofs, involving us in the action, I wasn’t sure if I were being inducted to be an ‘Oompa Loompa’, but they weren’t actually needed.

    The waterfall itself was a chocolately cascade, I’m told was a 5 tonne pool, on a constant churn of 12,000 litres per hour. I don’t know what I expected… a lake rather than a type of vat, but I do realise, this was not easy to engineer and keep in good condition. Walking over a rickety wooden bridge (Indiana Jones style) to cross the stream of the waterfall, I was tempted to plunge in, just like Augustus Gloop, but I resisted thankfully!

    What I was interested in, is when I was going to sample the fountain’s offering? On exiting, we were allowed to bottle the fountain water, and flavour if we wished with cinnamon bark etc… That was the experience over, so a takeaway bottle that was not for direct consumption, it turns out the fountain is a ‘concentrate’ concoction, needing to be diluted or added to. Suffice to say, I’d have rather had something to try there and
    there to complete and extend the experience which was done in under 10 minutes flat. However, the chocolate is amazing as a hot chocolate and over ice cream.

    Note to myself: Don’t go to ‘experiences’ with Disney expectations… the magic isn’t always conjured up…

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