Central Perk Pop-Up Shop Draws in TV Fans, Coffee Lovers

Warner Bros. opened a real-life Central Perk in New York City to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the classic sitcom “Friends.” The TV group partnered with Eight O’Clock Coffee and agency Source Marketing to bring the program’s fictional coffeehouse to life.

The pop-up shop attracted an average of 1,850 fans per day, waiting in lines that span four city blocks for more two hours on busy days. Visitors ranged from local college students to international tourists to vacationing families. One family flew to New York from Las Vegas for the day just to visit the coffeehouse, said Michael Scalera, associate brand manager at Eight O’Clock Coffee.

The coffeehouse is stocked with original props from the show including cast outfits, the Gellar Cup troll doll, and the show’s iconic orange couch. Fans turned to social media to boast about the Central Perk experience, sharing about 23,000 selfies, said Source Marketing.

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Eight O’Clock sees the coffeehouse as a means for the 150-year-old brand to connect with contemporary audiences. Its limited-edition Central Perk roast is also bridging the gap with fans in the grocery store.

Warner Bros. poured “significantly more” into the marketing effort than it normally would on a show that’s two decades old, said Lisa Gregorian, president and CMO of Warner Bros. Television Group. But TV company chose to celebrate “Friends,” in a big way in order to reengage fans, broadcasters and licensees of the show around the world. The pop-up shop closed on Oct. 18, but Ms. Gregorian said a permanent Central Perk in New York “would be a dream come true.”

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