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Let It Snowflake

How UNICEF plans to turn its Fifth Avenue ornament into a crystal cash cow.

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Take 2.6 miles of stainless steel, 12,000 Baccarat crystals, 1,200 screws, and what have you got? With any luck, $6 million. That’s how much UNICEF—sponsor of the giant snowflake that hangs delicately above Fifth Avenue at 57th Street—is hoping to make from various snowflake spinoff ventures. This is the first year the snowflake has been monetized to such a degree. A UNICEF business plan calls for revenue-generating schemes that include crystal-snowflake credit cards, tree ornaments, a $140 miniature replica, and a “sponsor a crystal” program in which people can, for $500, have their name etched on one of 12,000 new crystals to be assembled into another giant snowflake. The idea is that it will eventually replace the current one, designed by German lighting guru Ingo Maurer—which will then be shipped to another city for future marketing purposes. So, will these flakes continue to multiply? “We see the crystal snowflake as a long-term project,” said Diane Whitty of UNICEF. “You’re looking at a full gamut of licensing and cause-related marketing.”


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