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    – october, 28 2016 –

    While your internet browser tends to block pop-ups, or indiscriminate advertising windows, the same cannot be said when it comes to shopping. The pop-up store, heralded as traditional retailing version 2.0, is a new model of retail space, mushrooming in cities throughout the world, and now enthusiastically recommended by your urban Firefox.

    In Shakespeare’s time, a pop-up was something that appeared fleetingly, unexpectedly. As is the case with these ‘ephemeral shops’.

    It is a multi-faceted retail phenomenon with various advantages, allowing the retailer to try out an activity, a district or a product, while at the same time encouraging virality. Just like individuals, brands in the four corners of the globe use (and sometimes abuse) this model, ensuring that your shopping experience beats to the tune of a song by the late king of pop. Discover here the first blasts ringing out from international pop-ups.

    The most gangsta: Tupac’s posthumous ‘California Love’

    The idea of opening a temporary restaurant may seem a bit old hat to the initiated. But when it picks up the unachieved dreams of a dead star, it becomes… rather more interesting.

    On 7 September 1996, just before midnight on the Las Vegas Strip, the BMW E38 belonging to the American singer and rap icon 2Pac, alias Tupac Shakur, was riddled with bullets. The singer and promising actor, seriously injured, went to his very own Gangsta’s Paradise six days later. He was, and continues to be, emblematic of the genre, listed even in 2007 as the 8th highest celebrity in terms of posthumous earnings, ahead of Bob Marley and James Brown.

    To mark the 20th anniversary of his death, marketing man Sam Hansen has paid true marketing homage to the man: the fast food joint Take3 Burgers has been completely rebranded to resemble the restaurant that the star himself imagined. And Hanson says: ‘If you look carefully at his sheets of words and drawings, you will see clearly what he wanted to do. Powamecca is a combination of power and mecca, the space that Tupac defined as a ‘passionate paradise 4 people with power 2 play and parlay’. What’s on the menu: California Love Burger and ‘Thug Passion’ champagne ice cream.

    From RollingStone to Vogue and even Time itself, the event and the operation have been saluted throughout the press. Take3 offers a unique experience, and could repeat the performance, this time taking on another legend: Johnny Cash.

    Photo Credit : Influencia magazine

    The most social: Street pop-ups

    Pop-ups for everybody! But not for just anyone… Here, just for the disadvantaged. Lamenting its inability to provide a roof for every homeless person that it helps on a daily basis, the Haven Night Shelter, in association with communications agency M&C Saatchi Abel, launched The Street Store in January 2014.

    For a few moments this temporary street store, inaugurated in Cape Town, transforms Mandela’s sidewalks into a shopping street for the homeless. A series of boxes, specially designed for the occasion, allow anybody, if they wish, to hang something up or leave a donation for this good cause.

    Normally, people in need just receive a box of clothing in their size, without the option of choice. Here, a ‘real’ shopping experience is being offered, allowing people to select their clothes as they would in a traditional shop. The Street Store has become an international activity that has spread throughout the world, reaching Brussels in 2014. Since then, dozens of cities have tried the experiment. Has yours?

    Photo Credit: The Storefront

    The most month(lie)s: Sarah Michelson’s Period Shop

    Female menstruation, once seen as malevolent blood or a punishment handed down by the gods, was long feared by our forebears. Although the ‘mystery’ has now been solved, it remains a relatively taboo subject. The business of periods, Blue in the adverts, really rakes in the bills, especially green ones.

    When Sarah M. vented her frustrations on the matter through her Tumblr account, she explained to her readers that there are whole shops dedicated to sunglasses, spicy sauces, men’s shaving accessories, but nothing for the 68 million menstruating American women. She then called for the creation of a ‘Period Shop’. Just like a visit to a cosmetics shop to stock up on blues and greens, why not create a space dedicated to a lady in her (red) flowers?

    The idea might seem slightly warped at first, but it does have some merit. An unashamedly feminine world where you buy your tampons from other chicks. It makes so much sense, in fact, that a brand of period accessories offered to fulfill its dream. A girlie world where, for one weekend, DJ set, cupcakes and lipstick accompanied the period. This was in New York, the city of the statue, the Statue of Liberty.

    Photo credit : U by Kotex

    The most stored: the six-pack of shopping containers

    In 2011, the hip district of Shoreditch, in east London, took delivery of something rather odd. While containers are being used increasingly in fields such as art and architecture, it is, nevertheless, somewhat rare to use 61 of these ‘stores’ for shopping.

    This truly ephemeral shopping centre, that covers a surface area of 4.7 hectares, is a joy for locals and tourists alike, offering multiple shopping experiences of products freshly landed on the Retail coast via the ports of Brand and Concept. Well-known brands have had a presence but Boxpark also makes room for less mainstream initiatives such as Hopt, supplier of ‘drinks to be consumed in moderation’, art galleries and original food and drink outlets.

    With the benefit of its experience, the Park is leaving its Box delivery in Shoreditch, and awaiting new cargo for Croydon in October 2016. Croydon Boxpark, dedicated to beans in tomato sauce, toast and covers of songs by the Beatles (and others), purports to be the next step in the revolution sweeping through our cities. Halfway between street food and restaurant, the space will be devoted to casual dining and entertainment – you could call it ‘foodtertainment’.

    Photo credit : Time Out

    The most discounted: Esmara, Lidl’s fashion brand.

    The German hard discount brand, Lidl, had 20 years of experience when it launched in Belgium in 1995. While the brand was already established in Europe with its older cousin Albrecht-Discount, 10 years its senior, it has created real disruption in the Belgian food retail sector. Lidl, with its basic retail outlets and own brand products, hits the right note, i.e. price, and minimizes its operating costs. A younger and more innovative company, it is concentrating on its mission of seduction by price, aided by palm oil spreads and chocolate that melts in the mouth and not in the hand.  And it works.

    In 2014 Lidl catalogues listed an increasing variety of products such as Madame Glamour, a Valentine’s Day scent developed specially by a newly recruited nose. At 3.99 Euros for 50 ml, the fragrance won the ‘golden bottle’ for ‘most popular’ perfume. The Madame in question quickly eclipsed ‘Mademoiselle’ Coco (who no longer says ‘j’adore’).

    September 2016: ‘Willkommen im Neueur Wall ‘, the luxury shopping street in Hamburg. Here, at the heart of haute couture and jewels, Lidl decided to show the premium collection of its fashion brand, Esmara, for a few days. In this space, the décor holds its own with the likes of Karl and Jean-Paul, the intention being to attract the Dolce-loving shoppers… With a parade, a fashion event, the hard discounter fully intends to secure its place in this in-Vogue world.  Evidenced by the fact that it now wants us to forget the pejorative terms, no more ‘hard’, no more ‘discount’. Lidl wants to become a ‘qualitative’ giant (un)like the others. But does it intend to stop at that?

    Photo credit: HNA

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