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How CPG Brands Can Benefit from the Pop-Up Shop

  • Bobby Johnson

The pop-up shop has long been a staple of experiential marketing, a way to combine a big brand with a fun, unique adventure the attendees can gush about to their friends. Even better, the temporary nature of pop-ups creates scarcity, and with it a desire to experience something before it’s gone. The McRib Effect, to boil it way down. 

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? 

The 3 Pillars That Make a Brand Pop-Up Work

The most successful pop-ups have a few traits in common. They’ve kept in mind these three goals:

Generating Excitement: If you want a pop-up shop to create buzz for your brand, you have to give consumers something to get excited about. If you’ve designed a welcoming space with fun giveaways and tasty treats, the people will follow

Building Awareness: When you make the investment on a pop-up shop, you’re also hoping to reach people beyond the footprint. Whether that be through media hits or social media buzz, that amplification is what puts your ROI over the top. Everything should be designed through the lens of  “is this share-worthy?”

Reaching New Customers: CPG brands have been losing their main consumer base. In order to survive, not only do they have to appeal to the loyalists, but they also have to make sure they’re getting in front of new faces. Make sure you’re selecting a location that is accessible to the masses, and, if not, think about how you can bring the experience to them

In the past year, few have put as unique of a spin on the pop-up as Serendipity.

Serendipity Recreated “A Christmas Story”

For Christmas of 2021, Serendipity (with the help of Inspira and GoPuff) created an ice-cream pop-up themed themed on the classic film “A Christmas Story.” 

Serendipity has produced other pop-culture-inspired ice cream flavors before, like “Friends,” “CaddyShack” and “The Goonies.” But for their “A Christmas Story Mint” flavor, they wanted to go a little further. They showcased their new flavor at a storefront in SoHo that featured an expanded recreation of the Parker Family living room from the movie. 

Attendees were also entered into a giveaway to get the “leg lamp” from the flick, the one that stole the Old Man’s heart.

A showroom/storefront made to look like the living room in "A Christmas Story," complete with multiple copies of the hideous lamp made out of a mannequin's leg (in fishnet stockings, no less)

The pop-up drew massive crowds, and fortunately, no one was forced to drink their Ovaltine. The event was advertised through Serendipity’s marketing channels, and through the GoPuff delivery app. 

This event showcases our “three pillars” of pop-up success perfectly: 

Generating Excitement: The event sparked excitement by tying the already-beloved ice cream to one of the most popular Christmas movies of all time. It’s also, you know, ice cream. Who is turning down ice cream?

Building Awareness: By combining the marketing power of three different companies (Serendipity, GoPuff, and Inspira), it allowed the pop-up to reach a broad base. Serendipity and Inspira used social media and other marketing avenues, while GoPuff built an advertisement (and free tickets) right into their app.

Reaching a New Audience: Theming a brand and a pop-up around an already famous movie guaranteed more eyes on it. Plus, giving attendees the chance of winning an awesome, physical prop replica from a popular movie brought in people like film buffs who might not have checked out a brand pop-up just selling ice cream.

Inject Excitement into Your Product

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. Companies looking to expand their audience and create memorable, Instagrammable, and culturally-relevant consumer experiences in new, unique ways are finding pop-ups are getting the job done. In doing so, they are doing their part to bring the buzz back to brands that seemed to have lost their luster.

To learn more about creating a pop-up or other experiential event to bolster your brand, contact Inspira Marketing.

Updated September 2022. Original blog by Rob Patterson.