Pop it like it’s hot: brands jump on temporary experiential brandwagon for RWC festivities—UPDATED

At a time when traditional retailers are struggling, the trendsetting soothsayers believe pop-up stores and venues are one of the next big marketing things. And judging by the number, er, popping up for the Rugby World Cup, maybe they’re right.

We’ve already had a few in New Zealand, including the Mini showroom in Ponsonby and a venue for Tiger Translate. And there’s another big one to add to list, with the HP & Intel Winter Garden in the Wynyard Quarter opening on Friday September 10 and remaining open for the duration of the tournament. It will be a Kokako-run cafe during the day and the domed area will be used an entertainment venue that can hold up to 200 guests (for those who want to watch the event that cannot be named there will also be a massive screen).

With the glut of in-ya’-face rugby-themed marketing, this impressive pop-up, which was brought to life with the help of Running With Scissors and offers free access to all kinds of wonderous HP and Intel technology (although, given HP’s recent announcement about moving out of the tablet market, maybe not too many touchscreens), is a more subtle approach to branding during the tournament. And, because there will be plenty of schmoozing going on, it’s also proving pretty popular as a place to hold corporate functions.

Elsewhere in the pop-up landscape, Boundary Rd Brewery AKA the now Asahi-owned Independent Liquor, is thought to be putting a spa pool in the No 1 Queen St space; Yahoo is setting up screens and computers at The Engineer Pub in the Viaduct both for client functions and random passersby; the space in Britomart that was used for Fisher & Paykel’s Social Kitchen is being primed for use again, possibly by Louis Vuitton or another high-end fashion brand; Neighbourhood in Kingsland is setting up a special marquee in the carpark overlooking Eden Park; and Puma is setting up a social club in conjunction with Red Bull and Burger Fuel in Halsey St.

42 Below is also getting in on the act with a pop-up bar called Carnival42 that will remain in Britomart Place for six weeks from September 9. It promises “a magical, mystical land of world class cocktails, served alongside a crazy contingent of contortionists, magicians and fortune tellers”.

There is, of course, a sizable chunk of the population that couldn’t give a rats about rugby and possibly like to use party as a verb. And 42 Below, much like MediaWorks’ channel FOUR, is trying to cash in on what Bill Hicks might call the ‘anti-rugby dollar’.

“The only odd shaped balls in our bar will be the shakers, there won’t be a rugby jersey or a big screen plasma in sight and if you are looking for something ‘all black’ it will be served without milk,” the 42 Below release says.

As if all these pop-ups weren’t enough, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be a host of ‘brand ambassadors’ roaming the streets and foisting their wares upon unsuspecting CBD wanderers. So get ready for an onslaught of sales pitches masquerading as corporate largesse.

  • Let us know if you’ve heard about any other pop-ups around the country.

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