The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a huge event; considered a staple occasion in both New York and the United States in general, the parade is broadcasted all over the world and enjoyed by approximately 50 million people between in person and media viewings. One of the most impressive and elaborate displays in the parade is the Build-A-Bear float that pays homage to the innovative and experiential toy retailer.
In 2015 Build-A-Bear was both proud and pleased to announce the redesigning of their float in honor of the forthcoming 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The newly designed Build-A-Bear float promises to be more impressive than ever and will feature Bearnard, Build-A-Bear’s icon, and his loving band of friends. Essentially, the float aims to embody all the discovery and wonder that Build-A-Bear celebrates with children and their families.
This animated float will be the first new Build-A-Bear float since 2007 and will include a variety of bear-filled scenes– all with one mission in mind: Discover Adventure! A part of the Macy’s Parade family since 2002, this year’s latest float marks the third Build-A-Bear float for the Parade which is sure to delight the more than 3.5 million spectators lining the Parade route on Thanksgiving Day. “Making memories and celebrating life’s moments are at the heart of everything we do, and countless memories are made every year when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of America’s most anticipated events, takes place,” said Gina Collins, chief marketing officer, Build-A-Bear. “We worked closely with the talented team at Macy’s to create exciting scenes that evoke a sense of adventure and incorporate teddy bears – the icons of our brand – into one incredible new float.”
The engineers and craftspeople at Macy’s Parade Studio began working with Build-A-Bear on the new concept in early 2015, and construction took approximately five months. The front view of the float begins with two bears playfully riding ocean waves, while a sailboat captained by a Sailor Bear rocks gently overhead. A castle featuring Build-A-Bear’s icon, Bearnard, serves as the centerpiece, complete with a friendly, smoke-breathing dragon climbing up to see a Princess Bear, who showers the crowds with confetti. The sides of the float feature different scenes of wonder and adventure including a classic teddy-bear tea party, as well as a trip to outer space on a rocket ship manned by an Astronaut Bear, who turns his head to gaze upon the world, as he flies into the air with bouncing stars. “For nearly 90 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has brought generations of families together to enjoy the wonder and magic of the official kick off to the holiday season,” said Amy Kule, executive producer, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “Once again, we enthusiastically welcome Build-A-Bear and their new float to our glorious procession as together we celebrate the childlike spirit in everyone.”
Build-A-Bear Workshop will also bring its wildly popular “Merry Mission” story to life with the return of everyone’s favorite eight reindeer, along with a brand-new face, to stores this season. Glisten, the strongest, fastest reindeer of all time will light the night and help Santa and his team deliver toys to everyone on the nice list. Her special medallion unlocks the Merry Mission app and its features, and additional outfits and accessories are sold separately. Fans can download the updated Merry Mission app on iTunes and Google Play starting November 1. Additionally, Build-A-Bear and Macy’s will team up to celebrate the holidays by opening shop-in-shops at seven U.S. locations. This will enable shoppers to take part in the full Build-A-Bear Workshop experience inside a Macy’s store.
Recently, Gina Collins, chief marketing officer of Build-A-Bear, took some time to discuss the forthcoming float with the Examiner:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): How and when did Build-A-Bear become involved in the Thanksgiving Day Parade?
Gina Collins (G.C.): Build-A-Bear has been a part of the Macy’s Parade family since 2002, and this year’s design marks the third Build-A-Bear float in the Parade.
M.M.: What did the first float look like?
G.C.: Our very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float told the story of the teddy bear and its historical roots. It was bright, colorful and included furry, animated bears. It debuted in 2002 to commemorate the 100th birthday of the teddy bear. The float also featured the Build-A-Bear Workshop mascot, Bearemy, and his friend, Pawlette Coufur, who, at the time, was the “fashion advisor to the Furry Famous.”
M.M.: This year will be the third float model. Is this version the most elaborate?
G.C.: We have loved every single Build-A-Bear float designed by the Macy’s Studio team, but we’re particularly excited about this version because it reflects our new logo and our new look and feel. The front view of the float begins with two bears playfully riding ocean waves, while a sailboat captained by a Sailor Bear rocks gently overhead. A castle featuring Build-A-Bear’s icon, Bearnard, serves as the centerpiece, complete with a friendly, smoke-breathing dragon climbing up to see a Princess Bear, who showers the crowds with confetti. The sides of the float feature different scenes of wonder and adventure including a classic teddy-bear tea party, as well as a trip to outer space on a rocket ship manned by an Astronaut Bear, who turns his head to gaze upon the world, as he flies into the air with bouncing stars.
M.M.: Thus far, what has been the most rewarding part of being involved in the Thanksgiving Day Parade?
G.C.: Build-A-Bear Workshop has enjoyed a fantastic partnership with Macy’s for more than a decade. From reviewing renderings, to making plans for the big reveal, working with the incredible designers at Macy’s Studio and Amy Kule’s wonderful team, all has been very rewarding. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most anticipated television events of the year, and though we’ve been part of the festivities since 2002, it’s still heart-warming to see the Build-A-Bear float bring smiles to millions of faces each year.
M.M.: Where do you hope the Build-a-Bear float will look like ten years from now?
G.C.: The Macy’s team does such a great job of translating the look and feel of our brand into something spectacular each time they create a Build-A-Bear float. In ten years, we believe Build-A-Bear Workshop will still be a truly unique place where furry friends are made and that our mission to bring a little more heart to life will still ring true. Our float may have more bells and whistles—maybe even hologram bears!—but we know our core values and “heart” will still be a big part of the finished design.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
G.C.: In addition to our brand new float, this holiday season, we are once again teaming up with Macy’s to offer shop-in-shops at seven Macy’s locations nationwide so that shoppers can take part in the full Build-A-Bear Workshop experience inside a Macy’s store.
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A video of the float can be viewed here. To learn more, visit the Build-A-Bear website. Photoca of the parade can be viewed here.