On my way to work last Friday, I noticed a very peculiar sight.It was around 8:30am and I noticed several young adults lined up outside of a shop on Queen st. After a closer look, I noticed that the shop that they were standing outside of was an Adidas pop-up shop. As I thought to myself, could these…could these be the hype beasts that the internet has been talking about? For those who don’t know, by urban dictionary a hypebeast is, and I quote: “Sneakerheads who only rock hyped up shit to get props b/c they got no self worth or sense of style.” While this is essentially a “you do you” moment, I started to realize the demand of pop-up shops around Toronto.
What makes them so successful? A combination of factors I’d say, but let’s start with exclusivity. Pop-up shops often offer a variety of exclusive products that are often only available while supplies last or for a limited time. We saw the same thing in the city last year when Kanye West opened up a pop-up shop selling exclusive items of clothing in part of his The Life of Pablo tour. Or even the Adidas store that I passed on my way to work. These limited time pop-up shops often contain rare/exclusive products that are simply irresistible for their respective targets. This is what really brings out the hypebeasts.
The other big thing is that with pop-up shops, a lot of them contain some sort of experiential aspect to it as well which adds a level of exclusivity to it as well. For example, earlier this summer, Nescafe opened up a pop-up shop in downtown Toronto that allowed those passing by on the street to come in to not only try a cup of their new instant coffee product, but take a load off and just hang out. I actually discovered this by walking by with a friend one morning and decided to check it out, why not right?
The inside of the café was set up with lounges, hammocks, and couches for those passing by on the street to forget about their busy days and be consumed by a creative execution. What I found super interesting about this is that it’s been an on and off event all summer. These types of pop-ups are great because while yes you are ultimately consuming a product, you get an entire experience out of it which ultimately amplifies product usage or functionality.
I definitely think that living in Toronto lends itself to these type of experiences. Pop-ups have become something that are frequently being used by brands to bring an entirely unique experience for their customers. The era of the pop up shop is among us-and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.
Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.