Food for thought: creative pop-up shops

By July 18, 2016General

Pop-up shops are a firm favourite in the retail marketer’s arsenal. Brands big and small have tested the concept and reaped the benefits of the low cost, low risk experiential marketing method.

What is a pop-up shop?

A “pop-up shop” is a short-term, temporary retail event that’s literally “here today, gone tomorrow”. They’re used to create a long term, lasting impression with potential customers.

A pop-up shop allows you to communicate your brand’s promise to your customers through the use of a unique and engaging physical environment while creating an immersive shopping experience.

It’s a no-brainer tactic for new brands trying to battle their way onto the high street.

If you’re struggling with a concept for your own pop-up, here are 3 of the most creative pop ups from recent years, to inspire you.

Adidas store in a shoebox

We can think of few better ways to market a pop-up store for shoes than to build one that looks like a gigantic shoebox—and that is exactly what Adidas did in 2013.

Adidas opened a pop-up store in London that’s a scale replica of its own shoebox.

Designed to celebrate the launch of the new Stan Smith collection, in addition to selling limited edition shoes, it included a digital ‘Stan Yourself’ station, which gave people the opportunity to put their own faces on their shoes, while a 3D printing post let them make custom lace locks.


The Illy Push Button House was created by artist and architect Adam Kalkin in collaboration with the coffee giant. The pop-up, which was made entirely from recycled materials, unfurled at the push of the button.

Check out the space here as it makes its transformation from a coffee stand into a whole cargo container building, which comprises a kitchen, dining area, bedroom, living room and library.

Pop-Up hotel

Pop-ups don’t have to be shops. In 2013, Belgian company Sleeping Around introduced the world’s first “pop-up” hotel.

When guests booked a night’s stay, they needed their GPS to find it, as there was no address, no landmarks to reference, and no signs pointing them in the right direction.

That’s because Sleeping Around was a “pop-up” hotel that was constantly on the move.

Made from six 20-ft recycled shipping containers, the four bedroom hotel moved at will to new locations to provide guests with fresh views and experiences.

So if you’re thinking of creating a pop-up shop, make sure you’ve got your strategy down. Embrace the typical shop-related marketing tactics that will pay off. Pick a sensible location, know your audience, embrace trade marketing, be memorable and deliver a good customer experience.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on