Pop-Ups Are the Marketing Trend of the Moment

These four brands are creating experiences to immerse young consumers in their products, and proving pop-ups are the marketing trend of the moment…

Pop-ups may not be a new concept, but in the age of suffering retail their popularity is only continuing to grow. When we rounded up some of the brands betting on experimental retail, pop-ups were a tactic employed by several in order to test new, non-traditional store concepts. Glossy reports that the pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. But pop-ups have also moved from the playground of retailers and restaurants to a bona fide marketing star—helping brands to feed into the desires of the Experiencification generation.

This summer, Cheetos proved that pop-ups are a marketing trend of the moment with their pop-up restaurant “The Spotted Cheetah,” which put a foodie twist on the snack that stains your fingers orange. Led by Food Network celebrity chef Anne Burrell, the Cheetos-lover haven featured menu items like Cheetos Grilled Cheese, Flamin’ Hot and White Cheddar Mac N’ Cheetos, and Cheetos Sweetos Crusted Cheesecake. Wondering how many people would be interested in sampling these daring treats? Well, the temporary brand presence accumulated a waiting list of over 1,000 people and it only took six hours for all 300 seats to be booked after the restaurant’s announcement—which, according to PepsiCo ’s Frito-Lay division, “was a surprise to [them] in a big way.” Cheetos isn’t the only brand hoping that pop-up experiences will win over young consumers. Here are four more playing the pop-up marketing game—just in time for the holidays:


This season, Nintendo is launching 17 pop-up shops to give fans hands-on time with their products.…


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Quote of the Day: “Being famous is overrated. I would be more happy [sic] being locally known for the good I do in the world in a popular way but not for the wrong reasons.”—Female, 16, UT

Minecraft is being used to get kids interested in reading actual, real books. Litcraft recreates the world of a book as an interactive Minecraft map, adding “educational tasks” throughout. Treasure Island was the first completed world, followed by Kensuke's Kingdom, while The Lord of the Flies and Dante’s Inferno are in the works. Trials at U.K. schools are being met with “an enthusiastic response,” so Litcraft is eyeing a larger rollout. (The Guardian)

Nordstrom is stocking up on Instafamous brands like Allbirds, Everlane, and Reformation. The company announced that “strategic” brands account for about 40% of their current revenue and that’s expected to rise. While they benefit from indie brands’ popularity with young consumers, the direct-to-consumer brands are getting an expanded physical footprint, too. In the case of Reformation, Nordstrom explains that they “can bring sustainable fashion to a new (and much bigger) group of customers and closets.” (Business Insider)

A baseball team struck out with their “Millennial Night” promotion, putting Twitter in an uproar. We’ve warned brands that making fun of Millennials is not the way to get earn their spending power, and minor league baseball’s Montgomery Biscuits learned the lesson first-hand. Their “Millennial Night” offered participation ribbons, selfie stations, napping areas, and “lots of avocados,” while playing into stereotypes about Millennials being lazy. A Biscuits exec explains that “Something got lost in the sarcasm,” but instead of offering an apology, they doubled down with another cutting tweet. (AdweekInc.)

Nearly half of Millennials think that “their credit scores are holding them back.” OppLoans found that 27% of 18-34-year-olds haven’t been approved for a new car because of their credit while 25% have been declined for an apartment or house. Debt, a top financial concern for Millennials, is partly to blame: 15% said that their debt “is unmanageable.” Education could help dig them out of the hole, as 24% feel they’ve never learned how to build good credit. (Moneyish)

Baby Einstein is growing up for Millennial parents with a new mission and campaign. Their “Ignite a Curious Mind” effort goes after parents, not kids, with short spots that encourage curiosity. They’re also working on new toys, moving beyond their “sweet spot” of zero to 12 months for toddlers. Baby Einstein’s parent company, Kids II is also planning on reworking other brands, like Bright Starts and Ingenuity. (Ad Age)

Quote of the Day: “[American Eagle Outfitters’] clothes are generally what I wear and are my style. They're comfortable and affordable. They do not do a great deal of vanity sizing and offer something for guys and girls of every size.”—Female, 23, GA

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