Tony Spagnolo

Tony Spagnolo

A formally trained Industrial Designer with 15 years experience. My design style is simple, modern and bold. I pride myself in producing concepts that will increase brand awareness and drive sales at retail.

Our Latest Project – RIMOWA North America Window Displays

One of the best parts of a working in a creative field is working with cool companies. Earlier this year, Middleton Group was given the opportunity to work with luxury luggage manufacturer RIMOWA. To see images of the window displays click here.

Headquartered in Germany, with North American headquarters in Cambridge ON, RIMOWA is known as the luggage choice of the stars; a quick Google search and you will see many pictures of A-list celebrities with their RIMOWA luggage. Although you may not recognize the brand name, they have been around since 1898 with manufacturing facilities in Germany and Cambridge, ON (Canada).

With creative guidance from Germany, Middleton Group was given the task to produce a window display for RIMOWA North American stores, including the Toronto flagship store in Yorkville and then distributed to the remaining US locations including Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Guam. This window display had many elements including a New York skyline, replica vintage propeller and map window graphics. All of the printed elements were produced at Middleton’s Markham manufacturing facilities, the end result was a highly impactful display that has a definite “cool” factor. Here's the feedback we received from RIMOWA upon completion of the project...

“This was our first big project with Middleton Group, and I am very happy with the results. Not only were they easy to work with, they provided multiple ideas and solutions to help us achieve our design standards yet stay on budget. In addition, they were accessible whenever we needed and took so much care and attention in making sure that the project was seen through properly until the very end. We look forward to working on our next window display with them!”

Amy Jakubaitis
Public Relations & Marketing Manager
RIMOWA North America

The displays are currently installed into all of North America, check out the images from various RIMOWA locations and visit for more information.

Failure To Launch – What Happened To Blackberry’s In-Store Display Program?

Just over a month after the launch of the new Blackberry smartphone, and with sales figures lower than expected, the question still remains; Will the new Z10 and Q10 save Blackberry? The product itself has been getting great reviews from users but will this be enough to get consumers to drop their Android and iPhone devices?

The marketing impact has been poor, and the only thing that could have saved the poorly-executed 4 million dollar Superbowl spot would be if the phone could in fact change a semi-truck into a bunch of rubber ducks.

What Blackberry Did

With marketing in mind, I set out to see what In-store impact that Blackberry had implemented. I expected to see an aggressive in-store display program, with a strong focus to get the new device into as many hands as possible.

My review began at Toronto’s Yorkdale mall, with multiple cell carrier locations and kiosks, along with a newly open Apple Store and the only Microsoft Store in Canada, I thought this would be an ideal location where the new Blackberry Z10 could be showcased.

What I discovered was the exact opposite. I toured through Rogers, Bell and Telus locations as well as a Best Western union money order Buy mobile store and other than a few videos in the window and some simple card inserts, there was no brand impact whatsoever. Furthermore, not one of the devices was operational. If you wanted to test it out you had to wait for an associate to help you.

For a company claiming to have the best mobile operating system available, the impact at store level was minimal if not non-existent.

What Blackberry Should Have Done

Perhaps Blackberry still has this planned when the Q10 is released, but a multi-level in-store/retail display program could have built brand awareness for the new product. Granted, carrier locations are making it more difficult to insert custom display programs.

But it still is possible.

In this case, a custom display program should have been a planned part of the product launch. It’s my opinion that this program should have implemented multiple formats including full-floor displays with integrated digital signage showcasing the technology, counter displays for retail kiosks and complete dedicated experience centers for mall locations all with multiple operational devices and with one intention – to get as many consumers touching, feeling and using the device.

It’s not too late…

With no release date confirmed for the Z10 and Q10 in the US, there is still an opportunity for a high impact in-store program, especially in the very important US market. At this point it is just a waiting game to see how successful the new Blackberry’s will be, and if we will ever see a Z11.

Tony Spagnolo
Creative Director
Middleton Group