Hollister’s Live Beach Scene Video Wall In Munich Still Active After 10 Years, And It Looks It!
July 2, 2023 by Dave Haynes
Just a shade more than 10 years ago, shoppers lined up outside a new Hollister store in central Munich to see the California-inspired apparel and marvel at the huge LCD video wall just inside the store glass, showing live video of the Pacific’s waves rolling in Huntington Beach.
Ten years later, the screens are still on – and while that’s arguably a nod to a store sticking with a concept, these are screens that should not still be running.
I did an epic 20,000+ steps march around Central Munich on Sunday, to see the old town and try to get my body so tired it would happily stay asleep despite the time zone changes. But no, it is 3:30 am and despite a Lunesta, I am bug-eyed. So here I type.
I am here ahead of this week’s DSSE event, in a little early because the way flights worked. There was a restaurant I wanted to try, so I angled my way out of the central district and cut through several arcades, eventually seeing big flashing blue visuals at a store, It was on my path, so I walked over.
As I got closer I was mostly thinking the video wall was a great argument for getting calibration done regularly, but when I got close, I thought “Oh dear …. these things are in a world of pain.”
The screens have seriously, seriously deteriorated after a decade of operation, with black blotches and what looks like bleeding – though LCD nerds would have better, more technical terms.
Retail is pretty much closed on Sundays, so I couldn’t stick my head and see the physical set-up. My guess is the way the screens are snugged pretty close to the glass windows would make it hard to service, and that the back-end is probably hidden by walls or fixtures. So just swapping screens would not be easy, and flat panel screens have changed in countless ways since 2013, so just bringing in a bunch of new ones would not likely work.
Flat panel displays can, I suppose, last 10 years, but not running day after day. These things are overdue for decommissioning, and there may well be reasons why that hasn’t happened. Teen shopper tastes steadily evolve and I don’t get a sense Hollister – or its parent Abercrombie & Fitch – are anywhere near the buzzy, must-shop stores of 10-15 years ago. And the pandemic would have clobbered sales and operating revenues, so even if there was a will to pull these out, there might not be a budget way.
My phone photos don’t do the best job of capturing the state of these things, but even someone who knows little or no tech would see these walls and wonder what was wrong. Zoom or squint and you’ll see the deterioration, hidden a little by the ocean wave blues and whites.
This is what the screens looked like in Munich when they first lit up, largely copying a version on NYC’s Fifth Avenue. The one in NYC was eventually closed in 2019.