Why have brands caught pop-up fever in 2018?


2018 proved to be the year of the branded pop-up. But why are so many brands catching pop-up fever and what is the secret to building the perfect popup experience?

Trends in retail are making it easier for marketers to use temporary spaces for experiential marketing activations. The term “pop-up” is used by Scene2’s clients to describe anything from a one-day sampling activity to a fully immersive experience and the trend shows no signs of slowing.

“I feel like I take a call about pop-ups at least once a day,” says Laura North, Senior Project Manager at Scene2, which has produced temporary activations for the likes of Absolut, World Vision and Asics.

Why are pop-ups so popular?

A pop-up is a strong tool for building brand awareness, reaching a new audience, and creating a live experience. This is especially the case for a brand with no permanent physical presence, which is why we see Amazon and other online brands jumping on the trend, the latest being Facebook with popups in Macy stores across the USA.

Here are some reasons why these brand experiences keep popping up (sorry!) and what we think makes a great “Pop-Up”

 Why So Many Pop-Up’s?

  1. There’s a lot of empty retail space

2018 has been a bad year for the high street. Toys R Us and Maplin have collapsed, while New Look and Mothercare have announced closures, as have Jamie’s Italian, burger chain Byron and Prezzo. This means empty spaces perfect for popups or more permanent experiences like indoor crazy golf such as https://swingersldn.com/home/west-end/

Swingers London

  1. Retail habits are changing

People are purchasing more online. Millennials are seeking more urban, boutique-style shopping experiences with a big trend in shopping locally, which means brands will use fewer and smaller stores and will do better trying to reach younger consumers at well-placed, well-curated temporary pop-ups.

  1. Renting short-term retail space is getting easier.

It is easier to find spaces because there is a big demand for them, furthermore, some city councils are working to invite brands and artists to fill empty commercial spaces. London’s first borough of Culture Waltham Forest has several dedicated spaces for pop-ups.

  1. Timing is key.

Before “pop-up” was a marketing buzzword, temporary shops would open at key seasonal times (Firework shops for example) to sell just when people needed them.

That principle is still important and there is a surge in pop-ups around key seasonal dates. Two examples are; Debenhams who has launched in-store gin pop-up with their agency Mother in a bid to drive traffic in-store this Christmas and Anya Hindmarch’s Chubby Cloud installation to coincide London Fashion Week.

Pop-ups are a brilliant way to put brands right where they strategically need to be, targeting the perfect audience.

  1. The pop-up space lends itself to Social Media amplification

The reason pop-up fever took over in 2018 has a lot to do with the content being “instagrammable” – it became a thing to be seen at the coolest pop-up and share the experience on the gram as well as other channels.

 Temporary experiences are great for testing

Some pop-ups become a great way for brands to test new products or retail design or the latest technology.

So what are Scene2’s top tips to creating the perfect pop up experience?

Here are a few of our favourites and why we think they work.

Absolut Porn Star Martini Townhouse

Agency:          Sunshine Company

Production: Scene2

Absolut Pornstar martini Townhouse Masterclass


Absolut Pornstar Martini Townhouse was a multi-sensory immersive journey through a Soho townhouse Each floor brought to life the tastes, aromas and sensations of the 3 cocktail elements – Passion fruit, vanilla vodka and Champagne, ending with a mixologist master-class.

It worked because….

It was ticketed and promoted via Timeout which made it very popular during London Cocktail Week.

The partnership with Fred Butler, East London renaissance girl (& a big influencer) to create the passion fruit element on the third floor made it a hot ticket, so it sold out fast.

The content was designed to create a wow factor, with lots of “instagrammable” moments to be captured and shared with the hashtag #AbsolutPSM

Anya Hindmarch Chubby Cloud

Chubby Cloud

It worked because….

It dominated London Fashion Week and became the talk of the town among the fashionista. It was a brilliantly conceived arty activation featuring a giant fluffy white bean bag and activities including star gazing and Radio 4 podcasts. Perfect!


Adidas Glitch Pop Up Chicken Shop

It worked because….

It was clever. Adidas Glitch took over a fried chicken shop and made it their own. Everything from the takeaway food boxes to POS and storefront was rebranded Adidas Glitch. But instead of chicken, guests got spanking new trainers. Ace! The perfect pop-up combined PR Stunt.


Asics Paris Showroom

Agency:          Sunshine Company

Production: Scene2


It worked because….

 Asics turned their flagship Paris store into a Japanese themed street. Scene2 turned Sunshine’s vision into reality with our knack for theatrical styling and prop design. The store became a destination for press and other VIP’s in Paris Fashion Week 2018.

Plant Pop at The Truman Brewery

It worked because….

Plant Pop was the dream child of two creatives at Imagination. They saw the growing trend in 2018 for wacky instagrammable pop-ups and designed a vegetable-themed kidult playground, which was ticketed and of course, sold out. Our fav installation was the pea ball pool.



Please get in touch if you’d like Scene2 to design and build you a memorable pop-up to get people snapping!