Sandton City racks up more accolades | Everything Property

Sandton City racks up more accolades

Sandton City

A record-breaking festive campaign gets international attention while this award-winning shopping destination aligns with AI to gear up for futuristic fashion.


A record-breaking festive campaign gets international attention while this award-winning shopping destination aligns with AI to gear up for futuristic fashion.

Sandton City, Africa’s premiere shopping destination, was recently honoured for its festive season 2021 Toyland Factory campaign at an awards ceremony in Las Vegas. The campaign, conceptualised and executed by Excellerate Brand Management (EBM), Sandton City’s strategic property marketing agency, was a finalist in the experiential category of the 2023 MAXI Awards run by the International Council of Shopping Centres.

Hosted for one month, Toyland Factory broke a five-year festive season foot-traffic record (with a 217% increase in visitors to the festive activation compared to the pre-lockdown 2019 season), yielded a 13% increase in overall turnover in the centre, a 793% increase in publicity value, and a 22% increase in funds raised for charity over the same period in 2019. The 700mimmersive space featured the centre’s top five toy retail outlets – Build-A-Bear Workshop, Checkers Toy store, Hamleys, Lego® and Toy Kingdom – and visitors could shop in one space.


A sponsored 8m clock tower, courtesy of Vodacom, showcased LED screens displaying a countdown to Christmas Day. Adjacent to it, a captivating circular stage hosted daily live performances featuring ballet, aerial art, and acrobatics. Greeting the visitors at the entrance to the Toyland Factory were a Christmas jester and a fairy princess. Within this enchanting space, visitors could participate in signature festive activities, such as taking photos with Santa in front of a vibrant, photo-framed wall.

To enhance the holiday spirit, children were given postcards to write letters and place in a postbox designated for Santa. Additionally, a magnificent 12m Christmas tree, inspired by beloved Disney characters, stood tall. Adorned with over 700 Disney plushies, these toys were generously donated to charity.

The Christmas tree also offered a walk-through tunnel illuminated by magical fairy lights, creating the perfect backdrop for capturing festive memories with loved ones. Furthermore, three gift-wrapping kiosks dedicated to charity were operated by volunteers from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Visitors could choose from two bespoke Toyland Factory wrapping paper designs. All proceeds from the gift-wrapping service were donated to the Sandton SPCA.

Heloise Mcgina, marketing executive for co-property owner Liberty Two Degrees, says: “With an already-fledgling economy and a well-documented state of economic inequality, it was important to offer an experiential festive activation that was free and inclusive. I am thrilled that we could do exactly that and beat former retailer and investor results over this period.”


In 2022, the centre launched its “City of Icons” campaign, profiling iconic fashion must-haves like the little black dress, denim, trench coat, hoodie and suit, with shoes, sunglasses, handbags, and lipstick. Now, patrons are invited to imagine what that city will look like using AI in its Future Icons campaign. Generated using a Midjourney Bot on Discord, the campaign aims to help tech-savvy shoppers to envision the integration of these essential items into their future fashion routines, while also exploring the exciting possibilities that arise when technology and iconic elements seamlessly merge together.

The tech-driven communication elements will reside in the digital space, adorning screens throughout the centre. At the same time, the messaging will be amplified on Sandton City’s social media by friends of the brand such as Naqiyah Mayat, Kyle Clark, Zoe Msutwana and Victoria Duckitt, as well as by thought leaders in fashion, beauty, accessories and technology, including Nafisa Akabor, Angie Detsikas, Europa Art Group’s Director and Buyer Melina Lambrakis and Dior South Africa’s General Manager Armine Anders.

To view the first video, click here


These individuals will feature in a six-part docuseries to be showcased on social media, taking shoppers behind the scenes to see how the AI was leveraged and providing insight into how the different retailers are embracing AI technology to improve and personalise their offerings. An AI model, ChatGPT, was used to script the social media component of the campaign and enhance the video voiceovers with an AI text-to-speech generator.

“Pioneering the evolution of retail through cutting-edge innovation is a key priority for Sandton City,” says Dimitri Kokinos, general manager of Sandton City. “By continuously pushing the boundaries, we aim to remain ahead of the curve and to inspire our shoppers with the belief that the future is an exciting space, filled with limitless possibilities for all of us.” Sandton City is co-owned by Liberty Two Degrees, Liberty Group and Pareto Limited, and managed by JHI Retail Proprietary Limited. An award-winning leader in mixed-use properties, the centre is an impressive retail, office and leisure space that accommodates over 300 of the most exciting local and international brands. Luxury brands are featured in the exclusive Diamond Walk.

The centre is the first super-regional shopping centre on the African continent to achieve a six-star green-star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa in recognition of its world-class environmentally sustainable operational efficiencies.

Sandton City

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