The pop-up shop has long been a staple of experiential marketing, piquing interest of passersby all the way from Brooklyn to Beijing. Still, marketing minds across the world continue to design different iterations of these popular experiences. Many of these have come in the form of fashion brands going brick-and-mortar to bring their brands to life, with the likes of Swedish watchmaker Daniel Wellington and menswear specialist Bonobos among those getting in on the action.
It’s not just fashion brands that can stand to benefit from a pop-up shop, though. Despite challenging market conditions that have forced many a layoff and plummeting sales numbers, some companies in the CPG category have used their creativity to reap the rewards. How have they done it? They’ve kept in mind these three goals:
In the past year, few have put as unique of a spin on the pop-up as Kellogg’s and Frito-Lay:
One of the most buzzworthy pop-ups in recent memory came this past month, as the folks at Cheetos launched The Spotted Cheetah, a three-day restaurant with a menu crafted by celebrity chef Anne Burrell. The menu, complete with three courses full of items ranging from the savory Cheetos Meatballs to the Cheetos Sweetos Crusted Cheesecake, was a big hit amongst New Yorkers, with all reservations on OpenTable booked within the first six hours. Though the restaurant lasted only three days, the buzz around it was substantial, earning media hits in national newspapers, food blogs, and even the likes of CNN and Fox News.
Starting in July of 2016, Kellogg’s opened its first-ever restaurant, a gourmet cereal shop in the heart of Times Square. Once a breakfast staple throughout the United States, cereal has seen a sharp decline in recent years, due largely to the masses declaring “war” on sugar. On top of questionable health value, cereal has always been viewed as one-dimensional in its serving style: pour in bowl, add milk, and enjoy.
In reality, though, cereal can be much more versatile and exciting than that, which is exactly what they aimed to show when opening up Kellogg’s NYC. The Times Square flagship location offered the opportunity for tourists and residents alike to try out their own creations, whether it be fresh fruit to make a healthy breakfast bowl or marshmallows and chocolate morsels for DIY dessert. In fact, the restaurant has been so successful that it outgrew its flagship location and will be relocating to a bigger space downtown this upcoming winter.
Seeing the success of the Kellogg’s restaurant, the brand decided to leverage the space for another one of their entities: Pop Tarts. For a week during February, the red space was turned blue to showcase a menu full of special Pop Tarts treats, including the Birthday Fiesta Nachos, Chili Pop Tarts Fries, and Pop Tarts Burritos — each of which used deconstructed Pop Tarts as ingredients of something even more decadent. To make sure that busy college students got their fix and documented it all on social media, they partnered with Uber Eats to provide 600 NYC college students with a free burrito and a special prize.
Though recent years haven’t been the kindest to the CPG industry, that’s not stopping the creative ones from making changes to turn back the tide. Both Kellogg’s and Frito-Lay created culturally-relevant consumer experiences that showcased their products in new, unique ways. In doing so, they are doing their part to bring the buzz back to brands that seemed to have lost their luster.