Back in July last year a certain Jennifer Lopez popped up in Brooklyn, New York to open a flagship retail store on Flatbush Avenue called Viva M³vil, with the purpose of targeting the Latino population. Retail shops were also opened in Miami and Los Angeles, with a total of 15 outlets in locations with a high level of Hispanic people. Viva M³vil is a collaborative venture between Verizon Wireless and Brightstar, and Ms. Lopez was included to use her celebrity status to help drive sales of handsets and J-Lo inspired accessories.
Judging from reports though, Jenny from the Block hasn’t made quite the splash that was originally envisaged, with the Flatbush Avenue storefront in Brooklyn appearing to have closed its doors, devoid of both stock and employees. One of the apparent problems with the brand and its site is that people were confused as to what sort of business it actually was, with customers expecting it to be a coffee shop or even a clothing shop. An unnamed employee has said that some people walk into the shop without even knowing it was a Verizon Wireless store despite life-like pictures and cut-outs of Ms. Lopez holding a phone. This has resulted in many of the Viva M³vil stores flipping their branding, leading with the standard Verizon Wireless logos instead in order to increase brand awareness.
Just how much input has Jennifer Lopez had with the venture? Well, it would seem to be minimal, apart from appearing at the store opening and posing for photographs, she hasn’t been back to the Brooklyn shop, with employees claiming that she has offered no support to the store. If anything, it would appear that J-Lo has distanced herself from the venture, with no recent mentions of it via her social media outlets. In her defence, I’m sure she has her fingers in many different pies, what with her acting and singing careers, as well as her charity activities.
When checking the Brooklyn zip code (11217) via the store locator on the Viva M³vil website, no such location appears, instead there’s a message saying that ‘there are no stores in your location yet’. The choice of handsets isn’t up to date either, the most recent phone on offer is the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 that was released in October last year, other available devices include the HTC One (M7) and Blackberry Z30 that are over 12 months old. Needless to say that this doesn’t bode well for the brand or its employees.
In case you recognise the company called Brightstar, its the company founded and part-owned by Sprint’s new CEO, Marcelo Claure, so perhaps its also a small case of conflicting interests, especially since Sprint’s owner, Softbank has invested in Brightstar.
Have you ever visited a Viva M³vil store? Was it what you were expecting to find? Would Viva M³vil’s association with Jennifer Lopez be something that would lure you to the brand? Let us know in the comments or at our Google Plus page.