Mr. Robot Comes to Life at Chelsea-Based Story
"Mr. Robot" is coming to a store near you. Beginning Monday, the popular TV show, which airs on USA Network, will sponsor a "disrupt"-themed installation at Story, the five-year-old concept shop based in Manhattan that earns the bulk of its revenue from sponsorships.
Complete with a socially-powered vending machine and a hackable ATM doling out $50 to skilled techies, the themed shop will run from June 6 to July 24, in time for the cyber-crime thriller's second season premiere on July 13. The store will feature curated merchandise from startup brands like menswear company JackThreads and outerwear seller the Arrivals, in addition to product picks from editors at Circuit Breaker, a new blog from the Verge.
"It's the first time we've taken an entertainment property, a show and brought it to life in a physical format," said Rachel Shechtman, the founder of Story. "We're creating a living conversation around disruption with 'Mr. Robot' and USA at the center of it."
Carly Chaikin, the actress who plays Darlene on the show, will attend a press event on Monday. Ms. Chaikin created limited-edition artwork for purchase at the store.
The partnership is meant to build buzz around "Mr. Robot"'s premiere and attract new fans to the series, which stars Christian Slater as an anarchist hacker. "Mr. Robot" won a Golden Globe in January for Best TV Drama; Mr. Slater won the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
This is the first time USA has done a partnership of this nature, according to a network spokeswoman.
"As marketers, we are always looking for strategic partnerships that demand attention both for their conceit and flawless execution. Story is all this and more," said Alexandra Shapiro, exec VP-marketing, entertainment networks at NBCUniversal. "Disrupt Story offers us an incredible new storytelling medium–an experiential retail canvas–through which we can bring the themes and iconography of our award-winning series 'Mr. Robot' to life."
As traditional brick-and-mortar retailers suffer a midlife crisis of falling sales and declining traffic, shoppers are turning to innovative brands like Story, which was profitable in its first year of business. This isn't the first time the company is linked to "Mr. Robot." Earlier this year, the startup brought together NBC Universal and iStrategyLabs, who collaborated to "hack" attendees' phones in a "Mr. Robot"-inspired stunt at SXSW. Additionally, in April, Story brought Pepsi emojis to life
In previous "stories," Ms. Shechtman, a fourth-generation retailer who was included on Ad Age's 2015 Creativity 50 list, has worked with brands including American Express, Cigna and Target. The Disrupt concept is Story's 30th installation; the cost of a sponsorship for a store, which lasts between four and six weeks, starts at $400,000.
Ms. Shechtman plans to partner with another media company later this year.