Marketers spend a lot of time trying to nail down abstract concepts. They’re tasked with turning brainstorming sessions and comments sourced during focus groups into campaigns that sum up everything about a brand’s identity in a neat, tidy, and most importantly, interesting way.
Consumers love the lure of exclusivity, and brands love the unmatched opportunity for experimentation. To inspire your next branded experience, we’ve curated a list of 5 innovative and visually stunning pop-up events.
1) COS Los Angeles
Experimental architecture firm Snarkitecture was inspired by mirrored surfaces and simple silhouettes when designing this temporary retail space for LA-based fashion label COS. The folks at Snarkitecture transformed an empty industrial space into two identical, monochromatic rooms — one white and one pale pink — leaving the focus on two racks of minimal clothing. The reflected space “creates an unexpected and altered world for visitors to experience and share.”
2) BarkShop Live
Shouldn’t your dog be able to shop for his own toys? Bark & Co, the ecommerce company behind BarkBox, certainly thinks so. For one week in June 2016, the dog-centric retailer set up shop in Manhattan, inviting dogs and their owners to try out their squeaky, bouncy, and chewy offerings in-person. The lucky pups in attendance were fitted with RFID-enabled vests, which tracked the toys they played with the most. Owners were then able to view and purchase their dogs’ favorite playthings directly from the event’s custom mobile app.
3. Glossier Summer Fridays Showroom
In Summer 2015, online makeup and skincare brand Glossier styled a floor of its Manhattan headquarters as a temporary retail showroom — the closest thing to stepping into its beautifully curated Instagram feed. The space offered Glossier products for sale, but as founder Emily Weiss explained, selling tubes of moisturizer and lip balm wasn’t necessarily the pop-up’s top priority. “It’s not really just a store,” Weiss said in an interview with Racked. “It’s almost like this is a giant mood board for the company we’re hoping to build.”
Created under the direction of set designer Marguerite Wade, the penthouse featured custom floral arrangements by Meta Flora and an installation by multi-media artist Grace Villamil.
4) Fast Food Aid
Creative directors Ikkyu and Junya Sato of Kaibutsu design studio noticed that young adults in Harajuku had a serious fast food problem — and they decided to do something about it. To promote organic food chain Dohtonbori, they launched Fast Food Aid, a pharmacy-inspired vitamin pop-up that offers a selection of health supplements aimed at junk food lovers. And all it will cost you is a receipt from a fast food place.
After a guilty indulgence, exchange your receipt for a customized bottle of supplements that will replenish the nutrients missed at your last meal. Each canister is aimed at a particular junk food — ramen, pizza, hamburger, etc., — to make sure your system gets what it needs.
Although Dohtonbori isn’t actually selling anything for profit at the shop, its been able to educate visitors about health and wellness, hopefully driving them to opt for healthier food options in the future — like Dohtonbori’s own restaurant.
5) Pantone Café
What does color taste like? If anyone knows the answer to that question, it’s Pantone. The world’s most well-known color company has been running a pop-up café in Monaco for the past two summers, selling a minimal menu of pastries, lunch options, coffees, and fresh juices — all branded with Pantone’s signature color swatches.
So does this mean Pantone is permanently branching out into cuisine? Not quite. The seasonal eatery is perfect Instagram-bait, and it has successfully generated a ton of buzz in the press. It’s a perfect example of a pop-up event enabling a company to take creative risks with its brand by stepping outside of its typical business model.
6. Real Life At Work
To offer passersby a glimpse into its world, London-based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy invited graphic artist Emily Forgot to transform the front window of its office into an imaginative, cartoon-inspired pop-up workspace. Using exaggerated monochrome imagery, Forgot crafted a whimsical office scene from paper, complete with a typewriter and a clock that ran backward.
For a few weeks, real agency employees took turns “working” in the window. The whole thing was then broadcast live via webcam on the agency’s website for anyone who was curious enough to watch. The pop-up was a unique way for W+K to shrug off the stereotype of the ad agency that takes itself too seriously — plus it was a creative chance for the team to engage with the community.