Pop-ups with punch


By Camilla Davies

They’ve been lauded as the future of retail, and become a go-to for brands to launch new products or reach new audiences, while simultaneously building buzz and their bottom lines.  

But with more and more brands leveraging the pop-up concept for their activations, there’s a danger in becoming a little bit routine. Pop-ups might be ingrained in the modern marketer’s vernacular, but when was the last time you considered whether your activation really packs a punch?

Ask yourself: does your pop-up resonate with the consumer? Is it impactful? Does it encourage your target audience to look twice, to engage, to revisit, to convert into a brand ambassador, and to part with their hard-earned cash long term? In essence, is it an idea worth sharing?

If you want consumers to put you front of mind, make these questions your mantra. We rely not only on our 15 years experience producing activations across FMCG, but on constant innovation to develop our ideas, to reinterpret briefs and to create something that resonates.

But enough about us (we’ve case studies for that). In a bid to say goodbye to routine activations across the market, let’s shine a light on what’s impressed us recently:

Fries and foundation

American makeup brand Glossier enjoys cult status as the less-is-more brand with the millennial pink aesthetic. Until 2017, their distribution was limited to a New York showroom and US-only delivery, but fast expansion has seen international shipping, and international pop-ups to celebrate. However it’s their domestic San Francisco pop-up that’s caught our eye. Glossier has taken over the interior of Korean fried chicken restaurant Rhea’s Café for a month. In a perfect pairing of brands that at first don’t seem complementary, Glossier’s utterly instagrammable branding is matched by a pared down menu of Korean steak and chicken katsu sandwiches. Make up products sit throughout the restaurant, and the food served in packaging designed just for the takeover. The whole thing clicks. It’s a playful move that the brand’s more established counterparts likely couldn’t achieve (Clinique and sushi burrito? Rimmel and dim sum?) that opens the brand up to new business and a tonne of user generated content, while it’s narrative remains strikingly ‘Glossier’.

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All hail Instagram

You got to commend Knorr for leapfrogging right over the social media bandwagon. For one night only, the stock cube brand is inviting Londoners to ‘Eat Your Feed’ by visiting Dalston restaurant Jones and Sons. Customers will hook up their Instagram accounts to software that will tailor a menu to it. The technology may be dubious, but the execution is clever. Knorr’s 24 hour pop-up leverages the idea of extended exclusivity – providing a tangible experience for a lucky few, but then offering the Instagram tasting matching experience through their website too. The activation results in data capture, brand awareness, and shareability. It’s a simple (if worrying) idea that our social feeds can know more about us than we do ourselves. More so, it demonstrates how a good pop-up can live within and complement a larger campaign.

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What’s next?

It’s time for more brave pop-ups that put people first. We’re gearing up for another exciting summer on the road, bringing ambitious activations to life across the festival circuit up and down the UK. Are you ready to rediscover the purpose - and the power – of the pop-up? 

Claire Scott