Pop Art: Event Marketing and the Astonishing Allure of Pop-Up Activations


 Final Chance. Limited Time. Close Out Sale.

 The allure of the limited opportunity has been a marketing staple for years. Even as the retail marketplace changed, ecommerce still uses this tactic. Ever seen a product on Amazon declare the following, “Only 3 left in stock – order soon,” and how much do those seven tiny words increase the likelihood that you will click “add to cart?”

 The elusiveness, that ephemeral, fleeting nature is a powerful motivator. FOMO – the fear of missing out – drives nearly every aspect of our lives. We prize experiences, relish in telling tales of past adventures, peruse photos albums (both physical, digital, and social) to trigger memories, and seek out new ventures to create new remembrances.

 This is the entire philosophy behind a pop-up activation. It is transitory, short-lived, and needs to be experienced immediately because the opportunity may otherwise vanish.

 While every pop-up activation is unique, best practices have been established that can help as you conceive your next big concept.


Thoughtfully Incorporate Your Brand into the Pop Up

You should have fun with a pop up and push your brand in fun, new directions. What you don’t want to do is stretch too far, to showcase activities or concepts that don’t conform or run counter to your brand’s established image.

 Creating a positive and memorable experience for a visitor is an essential component of a pop up. However, it is possible that people could walk away remembering the occurrence, but not the reason that it happened. Should that occur, it’s a failed attempt at branding.

 A positive example is a recent pop up from Nesquik. To celebrate its 70th anniversary, the brand opened a weeklong activation called the Nesquik Milk Stop. The brand collaborated with a celebrity chef to create two original drinks using Nesquik as the base, a Candied Bacon Milkshake and a Berry Banana Smoothie, while other Nesquik products were available on tap at “The Milk Bar.” There were also several photo ops, a wall papered in nostalgic Nesquik ads, and a slide shaped like a straw that led straight into the ball pit filled with blue and yellow balls (the brand’s colors).

 While you may not normally associate candied bacon drinks or ball pits with Nesquik, this pop up had fun stretching what you can do with Nesquik products while staying true to the overall impression of the brand.

Emphasize that the Event is Only for a Limited Time

Scarcity is a powerful motivator.

 In his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” Robert Cialdini lists the six principles he believes are used to persuade people to make decisions: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity.

 Rare items are prized more than common, everyday ones. A diamond ring has more monetary value than jewelry with gems made of glass. This same principle extends to limited-time items and events. Their short-lived nature just naturally makes someone’s FOMO kick into high gear.

 In all of your promotional efforts, play up the limited nature of the pop up. Count down until the doors open, and then count down until the time they close forever. If you have any unique, one-time-only items, like the specialty drinks at the Nesquik shop, be sure to emphasize their current availability and the fact that when they are gone, they are gone for good.


Make it Easy and Desirable to Share on Social Media

These days, it’s not just that people don’t want to miss and experience, they also don’t want to miss the opportunity to share that experience on social media.

 Social media exposure goes hand in hand with pop-up activations. The more you can get people to post, tweet, snap, and gram about your event, the more exposure you’ll receive. You can make this a reality by creating areas that make it easy for people to share and a hashtag that links everything to your activation.

 Again, for example, the Nesquik Milk Stop, made the smart decision of having several photo ops available. One was a wall that was converted into a grocery store aisle packed end to end with Nesquik products and a branded shopping cart to wheel around. In another area, the floor was made to look like milk while, overhead, large drops of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavoring rained down as people posed underneath branded umbrellas. Visitors would stop and snap photos and selfies at all of these areas, then label their posts with #NesquikMilkStop.

Break into New Markets and Areas of Low Saturation

Pop-up activations are incredibly cost-effective, which makes them perfect for experimentation. If there is a product or service that you have been wanting to sell but were uncertain that it would fit with your brand, a pop up is a great way to give new concepts a test run. Within the confines of a pop up, you can try out and tweak a new idea or offer outside-the-box merchandise and discover how your customers react. Also, it’s a great way to build anticipation for these latest offerings.

 Also, there will always be areas of low saturation for your brand. A pop up is a cost-effective way to make some headway into these parts. The more connections you can make with new customers, the more likely it becomes that they will seek you out (in person or online) and continue to support your brand once your pop up is gone.

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Pop Ups Can Be Located Anywhere

Any other activation is limited to where and when it takes place because it is defined by established perimeters. A pop up gives you complete control over the experience, and you are only limited by your imagination. Whether it be in a grassy park or an asphalt-covered parking lot, under a shady bridge or the sun on a beach, on a floating barge or the back of a truck, these are all possible locations for a pop up.

 Naturally, for these locations, you will need to find a structure that can safely and comfortably house your pop up. Fortunately, there are some low-cost, eye-catching solutions. One example is Event Architecture’s modular event structures. These clean, modern structures are designed to be set up in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor environments, including on uneven surfaces like grass, snow, and sand.

 The contemporary design of these structures is so unique that eyes are drawn to these temporary buildings. Potential visitors can check out what’s happening inside because the front and back entrances feature clear Plexiglas panels and doors. And there will be no question about the activation because the structures can be completely branded – inside and out.

 Since the structures are modular, there are a variety of configurations to fit your exact requirements. It is even possible to customize an electric grid under the flooring panels, which means you can include an optional climate control system and plenty of electricity of power lights, charging stations, and anything else you desire.

 A pop up literally springs to life, blazes for a short period of time, before it vanishes and leaves only memories. For assistance creating the most memorable pop-up activation possible, and to learn more about our versatile modular event structures, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.