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Going 'Clubbing’ At Local Malls

Noggin has cut a deal with a shopping mall chain aimed at driving the service’s brand and retail traffic with an educational program for preschoolers featuring network characters such as Moose A. Moose and Maisy.

Beginning this month at five test malls in Nebraska, Texas, Washington and Pennsylvania, the agreement calls for General Growth Properties to build “Club Noggin” activity centers, where parents will be able to take their kids for 75-minute interactive sessions.

The first Club Noggin is slated to debut April 20 at Oak View Mall in Omaha, Neb.

Unlike mall tours that other cable networks have run in the past, the Noggin program is designed to become a permanent fixture at dozens of GGP malls nationwide.

Noggin director of brand marketing and public affairs Denielle Bertarelli said the network expects Club Noggin will help it reach its core audience.

“It’s a way for us to have a real brand extension and experience face to face with parents and preschoolers,” she added.

No money will change hands between GGP and Noggin, which have a barter agreement, Bertarelli said.

GGP will build and staff the Club Noggin centers, which can accommodate 60 to 100 preschoolers ages 3 to 6 during each session.

“What we’re trying to do is enhance the overall shopping experience for the mall,” said GGP director of strategic partnerships Doug Johnson, who approached Noggin with the idea for the program last year.

GGP has operated kids clubs at 55 of its malls, but was looking to bring in a network such as Noggin to help design a consistent approach to the clubs with characters that appeal to kids, Johnson said.

The Noggin-GGP agreement runs for one year, with an option to extend the Club Noggin centers for an additional three years. “Our expectation is that this goes beyond one year,” Johnson said.

Noggin tested the activities a few weeks ago at a preschool in New York City. The sessions include interactive songs, games and video clips featuring characters from Noggin shows such as Miffy and Friends, Franklin, Tweenies and Maisy.

Bertarelli said Noggin will get local cable operators involved with Club Noggin by including cable discounts and other offers in goody bags that kids and parents will receive at the end of each session. Club Noggin staff will also wear pins that will contain the name of the local operator that carries Noggin.

GGP will market Club Noggin through mall posters, table tents in mall food courts, local print ads and other efforts.