It was only a year ago that Jennifer Lopez marched into Brooklyn and heralded a new era of being ripped off by your cell phone provider. Dubbed Viva Movil, it’s a joint venture between the American Idol judge and Verizon Mobile to lure Latino shoppers to the brand. But it looks like its customers have hung up on it.
Last week, we noticed that the shop on Flatbush Avenue across from the Barclays Center shuttered. Gone are the shrine-like pictures of Ms. Lopez smiling and giggling about Otter cases and data plans, and instead sits an empty storefront. It’s probably not what she was hoping for with the chain’s flagship location.
So, what went wrong? About six months ago, we noticed the Viva Movil signage was flipped with your run-of-the-mill Verizon Wireless logos because even with pictures of Ms. Lopez holding a cellphone, people probably didn’t know what Viva Movil was.
That jibes with a CNet piece from last month that said people weren’t sure what to think of it. “More than one customer has come in asking for coffee,” an employee who didn’t want to be named told CNet. The store’s former manager said people often confused it for a clothing store.
And, honestly, when’s the last time you’ve heard J.Lo gawk about Viva Movil? You wouldn’t have any idea she was still involved in the partnership if you were to go by her social media postings. An employee said J.Lo doesn’t even bother to help close the store at night: “Since the original ribbon cutting ceremony, she hasn’t returned to the Brooklyn flagship store. She hasn’t provided any support to the store, according to an employee there.”
Update 8/21: A Viva Movil spokesperson finally got back to us and the future doesn’t sound too bright for the fledgling retailer:
The Cellular Connection continues to remain committed to its customers and Verizon Wireless presence in the New York marketplace as well as any future endeavors with Jennifer Lopez. At this time, the parties involved are evaluating each Viva Móvil location and its ability to meet performance expectations on an individual basis.
They added that the Brooklyn location was shuttered because of the store’s “inability to meet financial expectations.”
The giant vivamovil by Jennifer Lopez Verizon Wireless store on Flatbush is closed. Thank god. pic.twitter.com/23QuHfREN0
— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) August 14, 2014