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J&R’s New York State Of Mind

Probably the most uniquely New York-centric CE retailer around is J&R Music and Computer World in downtown Manhattan. Its “single” superstore, which opened in 1971, is in reality a string of individual stores lined up along one city block with a maze-like series of front doors and stairways that interconnect each department. It’s like no other retail location I’ve ever seen.

Now J&R is looking to capitalize on that unique New Yorkness with a new marketing effort starring two staples of New York City life: bicycle messengers and Chinese restaurant menus.

The chain and its ad agency, Toy, are hyping the store’s same-day delivery service in New York by dispatching bicycle messengers to pedal around Manhattan with large (empty?) boxes on their backs, supposedly containing deliveries from J&R. If you spot one of the messengers and take a picture you qualify for a $10 J&R gift card.

Also being dispatched are faux Chinese menus, slid under apartment doors and lobbies, promoting CE devices and appliances.

It’s a clever campaign but one wonders if New Yorkers, who are notoriously jaded about everything, will respond to the ads or do what they normally do to careening bike messengers and ubiquitous menus: stubbornly ignore them.