The Pop Up Shop as an Experiential Marketing Tool: 5 of the Best

Using pop up shops for experiential marketing is a real trend in 2014 with brands such as Marc Jacobs, Weight Watchers and Kenzo creating interesting spaces

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London, UK: Please excuse the pun, but it would seem that pop up shops have been popping up all over the place lately. Along with a hashtag and social media call to action, they have combined online and the offline through experiential marketing.

Pop up shops are by no way revolutionary, they have been setting up camp on our high streets around seasonal events like Christmas and Halloween for years. It is by definition, the setting up of a retail space for a short period of time, which is what makes it popular with retailers and marketers alike. Now however, the pop up shop has developed a new lease of life, away from the hoards of calendars and witch’s hats as an experiential marketing tool.

Experiential marketing, unsurprisingly focuses on creating the opportunity for a consumer to experience the brand rather than just seeing or hearing about it through traditional TV advertising, print or radio. Experiential marketing plus social media creates the chance for this experience to be shared online through the use of branded hashtags and call to actions. This combination has become very popular in 2014 with some huge brands creating interesting reincarnations of the traditional pop up shop.

All of the following five pop up shops were ‘popped up’ so to say, in 2014 and have achieved great success both online and offline.

Marc Jacobs – 7th to 9th February, New York

Scheduled to coincide with the New York Fashion Week, Marc Jacobs opened a pop up shop from the 7th to the 9th of February with customers paying in ‘social currency’ instead of money. This means that no actual money was exchanged in the shop but tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook posts were rewarded with Marc Jacobs–branded gifts.

Using social currency means that the brand make sure that they not only provide an interesting experience in the shop, but also a strong presence online through engaging with their visitors. Facebook identified Marc Jacobs as one of the top fragrance brands for engaging with their audience through the social media platform, which ultimately lead to the development of the pop up shop.

Kenzo – 21st to 27th March, Paris

Fashion brand Kenzo decided to debut its new line promoting the ‘fight against over fishing and development of marine reserves’ with a pop up shop in Paris that was actually more of an installation. Visitors could not enter the ‘No Fish No Nothing digital pop up shop’, which was displayed as an aquiarium, complete with touch screen windows on which the customers could browse and purchase men’s and women’s clothing from the range.

The shop was open for a week, during which time a photo uploaded to Instagram with the hashtag #nofishnonothing would score you a fish with your name, swimming around in the window display.

The Walking Dead – May, Portugal

Popular TV show, The Walking Dead heralded the start of it’s 4th season by asking visitors to their pop up shop in Portugal to pay for merchandise in blood. The initiative was huge success, both for the national blood bank and for The Walking dead. The national blood bank saw a 571% increase in blood donations and publicity gained from the store was heard all over the world.

It was so successful in fact that The Walking Dead plan to open more pop up shops with the same concept in another 7 countries. This pop up shop also included some pretty cool printed t-shirts too because everybody loves a printed tee!

Weight Watchers – 16th to 23rd May, East London


Weight Watchers have launched a pop up café in Hoxton Square, East London, initially for a week with the possibility of spreading nationwide if it is successful. Like the Marc Jacobs pop up shop, the Feel Good Café, as it is called is using social currency to raise some online hype. In this case, eaters are encouraged to upload pictures of their meals to their social media accounts and connect with Weight Watchers new Twitter account @wwfeelgoodcafe with the hashtag #wwfeelgoodfood. This is just kicking off now so watch this space for more Weight Watchers content.

Central St Martins – 6th to 8th June, London (mystery location)


The second year graphic design students at Central St Martins in London have come up with a really interesting reworking of the concept of a pop up shop that ‘brings meaning to the marketplace’ and turns ‘the world of commerce on it’s head’.

Calling itself the worlds first prce-drop pop-up the idea is that the more times that the webpage is shared on social media, the price of the art inside the shop drops. The starting price for each piece is £1 million and at the time of writing has dropped to £37,155.

I personally find it such an interesting and innovative project as it really does turn the idea of commerce upside down. The more exposure and media hype there is, the cheaper it becomes.

The location of the pop up store is yet to be released but you can follow the growing conversation with the hashtag #worthpopup.


Printsome is an online t-shirt printing UK agency offering promotional clothing, t-shirt printing and embroidery services to marketing and creative professionals from Brighton to Aberdeen.

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