Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Pop-ups are good for you

The Americans are much better at gifting than the Brits which would explain the plethora of pop-up stores this Holiday season in New York. And the UK high-street can learn a thing or two from the savvy US retail marketing industry that would prefer to throw a temporary bricks and mortar option at consumers than say a couple of days of frenzied voucher shopping.

It's December and that means any excuse to entice customers out to shop - but why not make it an enjoyable one and dare I say it – give something back to credit-crunch weary consumers? Consumer insight agency The Future Laboratory recently called it "Freesumerism" on their new lifestyle trends site LSN:Global and the practice of utilising third parties to provide useful, free products or services in return for a bit of a branded retail experience is something consumers are open to in their overly marketed lives.

So take note from the WIRED store in New York - rich in gadgets and man-friendly products hosted by the US magazine this Holiday season for the third year in a row; or similarly manly but with a touch more jet-set class is the Monocle pop-up shop from Tyler Brûlé's well considered magazine. Open for six month's on Marylebone High Street in London, the store is intended to showcase a selection of connoisseur type products and limited edition gifts. Brûlé calls it "neighbourhoodsy" and "adding something new to the mix". Meanwhile for another target market all together check out Teen Vogue's Haute Holiday store full of the magazine's pick of advertisers' targeted products in a fluffy teen hang-out kinda space. And who do you think was behind Mo’s Place for Everyman charity event Movember? The moustache trimming specialist Wilkinson Sword, and a branding team on-site who gave tips for free with every trimmer.

The big guns are always at it too: Gap Red has got in on the act with its dedicated Holiday shop and who could fault the fashion week publicity bonanza that was Target's Bodegas.

Some pop-ups are there to show associated brand kudos - trendy denim brand Earnest Sewn uses its backroom as an evolving designer showcase and has just launched a "recession proof pop-up" selling off a selection of this year's roster of designers.

Essentially pop-ups serve as a constantly changing marketing space and can be used as more than just a PR tool – Absolut’s recent vintage boutique House of Masquerade three-day party pop-up was a textbook of example of how to throw third party cash around and create an experience. More marketers and retailers should get together and innovate in today’s competitive retail climate that is crying out for experience – we don’t mind the ads as long as we get something for free.