Category: Experiential Marketing

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 Max Bywater, Sales & Account 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

Swingers London Crazy Golf

  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:         The Sunshine Company

Production: Scene2


  • 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 – Passionfruit, vanilla vodka and Champagne, ending with a mixologist master-class.

Absolut Pornstar Martini Townhouse

It worked because….

It was ticketed and promoted via Timeout which mead 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

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!

Chubby Cloud

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.

Adidas Glitch Pop Up Chicken Shop

Asics Paris Showroom

Agency:         The 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.

Asics Paris Showroom Pop Up

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.

Plant Pop Up

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

With theatrical roots in the sparkle of pantomime and a past history working with the Christmas decorations specialists James Glancy Design, Scene2’s Creative Directors Andy Dixon and Susan Walker have over 20 years experience in designing, building and installing eye catching schemes. This includes grottos with a twist, interactive sampling stands and giant bauble displays.

In this blog, Scene2 shares 5 of our favourite experiential Christmas campaigns to serve as inspiration for planning your own.

1. John Lewis – “Buster The Boxer” Christmas TV ad Instore Experiential & VR Installations

John Lewis Christmas 2016 - In-store experiential

2016 saw John Lewis take their famous Christmas campaign to new levels of customer engagement with the use of Virtual Reality and an experiential in-store experience in 12 stores across the UK. Working alongside Pretty Green as their production partner, Scene2 is very proud to be part of this magical campaign.

Scene2’s brief was to recreate the experience of the TV advert using Virtual Reality technology via Oculus Rift.  We built a themed retail space that could be fully merchandised by the John Lewis team. Named “Buster’s Garden”, you could see, experience and interact with all the animals from the TV advert.

John Lewis - Christmas 2016 - In-store experiential

2. Cadburys – “Advent Trucks” Christmas Campaign

cadburys advent trucks

In 2015, Cadbury put £10 million behind its Christmas campaign and created the biggest ever advent calendar. 24 trucks. 24 doors. Opening daily in 24 different locations. Bringing joyful festive surprises to the nation on the countdown to Christmas. #cadvent

3. The Carlsberg Christmas Tree

#IfCarlsbergDid…..In December 2015, our beer of choice Carlsberg owned Christmas with a 27 foot tall Christmas tree erected overnight on London’s South Bank.

But this was no ordinary Christmas tree. This particular Christmas tree was decorated with beer bottle baubles and had a tap for dispensing FREE refreshing Carlsberg. The baubles that adorned the tree also doubled up as beer glasses. This great idea doubled up as sampling and outdoor experiential marketing.

4. Evian – Living Young (post) Christmas Experiential Campaign

The more you play – the more the snow falls. During the January grey days of 2013, Scene2 worked alongside Cake & Havas to banish the back to work blues & get Londoners living young again post-Christmas holidays.

Creating an interactive, kinetic experience with an Evian branded playground, Scene2 built and installed a swing set and seesaw into 2 London locations. A perfect, wintry setting for a Christmas campaign.

Evian playground

5. Covent Garden Christmas Deluxe

Covent Garden claimed their 2007 as the best-ever Christmas experience for visitors, to this iconic London landmark. The vast market space featured handmade decorations adorning the walls of the market building created by film set designers. There were 12 weeks of performance programming including the amazing Heliosphere, StrangeFruit from Australia and the Gay Men’s Choir. There was also a foodie Christmas night market.

Covent Garden Christmas

Feeling inspired?

Whatever your plan is for an Experiential Christmas, Scene2 are the experts.

We’ve created everything from large scale shopping centre decoration schemes, (under the direction of Paul Dart @ James Glancy Design) to retail and window displays in Selfridges, Harrods and flagship stores in Oxford Street, London. Giant scale is always our speciality from festive building wraps to themed sampling stands and bespoke interactive grotto concepts.

christmas - shopping centres

Christmas - Grey Goose Selfridges window

Christmas - HMV windows

Christmas - Winsor Bishop Building Wrap

Experiential Christmas is high on the agenda in 2017 with brands and venues looking to enhance the Christmas feel-good feeling, which will translate into sales without overpowering commercialisation.



With this summer’s festival season upon us, Mel Wakely shares her top 10 festival brand experiences EVER…

So, what makes a successful festival brand experience? Probably the most important thing is to ensure that the experience is enhancing the festival experience in a non-spammy way. Festival-goers are happy to have brands at the event so long as what they bring to the party adds lots of value to their experience.



Agency: Sense Marketing

Production: Scene2

 Reinforcing the Timberland Earthkeepers brand amongst the festival crowds, Scene2 up-cycled a couple of skips and a 45ft shipping container, transforming them into “Sun Terraces & a Power Camp” for festival-goers.

Visitors to the “Timberland’s Earthkeepers Power Camp” queued to jump on either a log-roll or an exercise bike to generate power to the stand.  In turn, boiling kettles and smoothie blenders were activated and visitors were rewarded for their hard work with a refreshing drink on the sun terrace above while an integral retail area gave opportunity to shop.

Timberland Festival Installation Timelapse

This 45ft shipping container was converted into this hugely popular experiential interactive 14m x 5m outdoor space.  Our transformations did not end there.  Dotted around the vast festival campsites were “Timberland’s festival Recycling Sundecks” which stood out as landmark meeting points.  Eye-catching and resourceful these converted skips held eco-credentials to make us feel good about ourselves too.

Experiential Shipping Container - Timberland Music Festival Promotional Stand - Viewing Platform


EE created an activation designed to solve one of the biggest festival headaches for anyone (with a mobile phone): getting internet coverage. The activation took the form of a full size ‘charging bull’ in the company’s brand colours, which acted as both a double-speed wi-fi hotspot and Power Bar charging station. The bold use of distinct brand colours meant the bull could be spotted and located from far away.



 Agency: Frukt

Production: Bearded Kitten


This creative activation really tapped into the fun, dressing-up vibe of family-friendly Camp Bestival. The experience encouraged festival-goers to customise their own Energizer head torch with various futuristic arts and crafts bits and bobs. Once completed, they could have their picture snapped in a rocket frame before exiting through a wormhole tunnel. Crazy, but brilliantly on brand for Camp Bestival’s audience.

This creative activation really tapped into the fun, dressing-up vibe of family-friendly Camp Bestival. The experience encouraged festival-goers to customise their own Energizer head torch with various futuristic arts and crafts bits and bobs. Once completed, they could have their picture snapped in a rocket frame before exiting through a wormhole tunnel. Crazy, but brilliantly on brand for Camp Bestival’s audience. V2


 Client: We Are What We Do

Production: Scene2 Ltd

 Litter is a problem that needs sorting at any festival. This genius idea solves the problem in a theatrical and engaging way that also encourages people to recycle. Winner!



 Client:  Heineken

Agency: WhyNot

In 2015, Heineken brand Strongbow launched a 12-metre high tree pop-up at both Isle of Wight and Parklife music festivals. The unique activation included a bar, seating, a photo booth, face painters and an apple-shaped DJ booth that hosted a number of top acts. The tree was designed to be seen from any part of the festival and even featured a light laser show at night.



Agency: Blend Bureaux Amsterdam

This is another brilliantly executed idea providing a much-needed service for festival-goers… clean clothes.

Wranglers Laundromat offered free laundry services to all Lowlands’ visitors including free fashionable Wrangler overalls to wear whilst their clothes were being washed.



Production Agency: Scene2

 World Vision leads the way in bringing new and exciting ways to connect with their causes and supporters. At Scene2, we are proud to be the 7th year of producing the “Journey of Hope” experiential build and tour logistics.

World Vision

One of the most successful tour dates was Camp Bestival, which created record sign ups for sponsorship and donations.

Family-friendly activity at the mud huts includes drumming workshops, bead making & face painting. Visitors can enter into the huts and see how children live in Sierra Leone and the changes that World Vision can make to their lives

World Vision interior


Production Agency:Ground Control 

This activation from Virgin Trains targeted festival-goers planning to travel to No. 6 Festival in Wales using public transport. The promotion offered them exclusive priority fares on Virgin Trains services – an industry first.

Virgin Trains created an exclusive train for festival goers which ran from Crewe to Bangor featuring live entertainment, face painting and a bar.

virgin festival no6



Last, but certainly not least, is one on my favourite brand activations from BMW MINI.

A PR Stunt from agency Cunning during the launch of the new MINI gave us “Fetish” MINI!

So clever was the idea and fabulous the costume, that the organisers of London Pride, invited MINI to lead the parade, even though the brand was not there in any official sponsorship capacity whatsoever!

mini at London Pride


Exhibiting remains as one of the best ways to meet, interact and win new customers face to face.  An eye-catching, experiential, exhibition stand which is now seen as they only way to make sure your brand message is remembered. (more…)

So far 2017 is proving to be another great year for experiential marketing.

The constant evolution of technology and the massive growth in social media usage has been harnessed brilliantly by experiential events to make them an even stronger way to communicate a brand’s messages.

Scene2 are proud to be part of the team behind three amazing examples of integrating social media and technology into a live experiential event experience:

If Carlsberg did Chocolate…..Experiential PR stunt for Carlsberg with Blackjack – See case study HERE

Kat Von D Beauty Product launch for Kat Von D at Debenhams with 1000 Heads – See case study HERE

Experiential - John Lewis - Busters Garden

John Lewis Christmas 2016 experiential in store tie-in with TV advert with Pretty Green – See case study HERE

Scene2 predict that live experiential events that embrace technology will grow in number as consumers embrace social media including Facebook Live and Periscope. Experiential events will be able to amplify further their reach by tapping into these technologies and reaching people wherever they are.

Below are some of the key trends to watch:

Bringing the Internet To Life

It will become crucial to involve a live internet element at an event in a way that allows attendees to see, touch, feel, and engage with the brand. This might be as simple as taking a selfie at the event and tweeting or posting on Instagram (eg our production for Kat Von D) to actually buying from a live pop up.

The Live Event Will Live Longer Via Social Media

The constant evolution of technology and the massive growth in social media usage has been harnessed brilliantly by experiential events to make them an even stronger way to communicate a brand’s messages.

Live events will just be the start of the campaign. Live event content will be re purposed to be used for social media campaigns where attendees can share “digital” memories with attendees and non-attendees alike to extend the life of the event.

Live Streaming Will Become The Big “Experiential” Thing For 2017

Live streaming services like Facebook Live can add an additional element to and complement the event without taking away from people’s desire to attend. Live streaming tools can help increase engagement and build excitement around the event and any future ones. It would be  a brilliant tool for a road show style event.

People Want To Experience the “Physical” and the “Digital” Experience Simultaneously

Some brands are already doing this  – see John Lewis (link). Consumers want to be fully immersed in the brand experience but increasingly they also want to direct their own experience within the environments that have been constructed for them. Brands will start to think of more and more innovative ways in which attendees could use their smartphones to help them navigate through your event, or how the digital landscape that you want to leverage translates into the physical world of your event’s architecture or music. Or by using tech such as Virtual Reality to bring to life your brands messages.

This is the way we see brands continuing to move forward in 2017 and beyond.

Inspired by article by Kim Benjamin in Event Magazine 29 March 2017

Laurent Tiersen, country marketing manager at IKEA UK and Ireland, explains in an article to Kim Benjamin @ Event Magazine, why experiential is deeply embedded in the furniture retailer’s DNA.

“IKEA’s key focus of experiential is to help members of the public engage with its products in a unique context…. not just as an experience, but in a way, that captures the imagination and resonates across both earned and owned media.” says Tiersen

IKEA Crazy Golf experiential activity @ Swedish Festival, London with BWP Primal

Visitors to the Swedish Festival were able to complete the 9 hole course which was made exclusively from IKEA products, from bedroom furniture to taps.  This fun, interactive activity showcased IKEA’s top selling products displaying them in a quirky, memorable way.

Tiersen adds “What’s more, experiential is part of our DNA -…. we have always been an experiential destination….we use experiential in a way to surprise and engage with the consumer”

IKEA Giant LACK table store opening launch – Southampton with BWP Primal

In true Scene2 theatrical style, the giant iconic IKEA LACK table appeared overnight on the roundabout next to the new Southampton store ready for the store opening. It disappeared as quickly as it arrived, so by the Sunday morning, it was gone without a trace.

Here is a behind the scene2 peak on how it was done:

Stage 1 – Arriving in the early hours of Saturday morning, the crew unloaded the giant pieces of the table onto the Southampton roundabout.

Ikea Promotion Build - blog1

Stage 2 – Being careful not to disturb the plants as they sleep, the ground is surveyed and legs dug into place.

Ikea Promotion Build - blog

Stage 3 –  With the giant legs in place, just like the real thing, the table is assembled with the use of ladders and torchlight!

Ikea Promotion Build - blog

Stage 4 – Finally the table top goes on…

Ikea Promotion Build - blog

Stage 5 – As the sun came up and the traffic awoke, the table stood proud guiding the way to the new store ready to open that day.

“We love working with BWP Primal on experiential ideas for IKEA.  IKEA is the perfect brand to suit any style of experiential activity.  We love giant props and ideas that creatively think outside of the box – the crazy golf and giant table are excellent examples of this.”  – Andy Dixon – Creative Director Scene2

Benjamin concludes in her article “…whether this is done via an exhibition, a pop-up, a one-day activation or activity that runs over several days, experiential helps the brand achieve a variety of aims, especially as each is specifically designed to work across all marketing channels.

Scene2 are experts in experiential design & production and have enjoyed 18 years working in the experiential and large scale decorations sector. Check out our recent and past work @ or get in touch – – 01992 666 341.

We would love to hear from you!

Wishing everyone a Happy National Book Lovers Day!

We have been thinking about projects which have made us proud to join in celebrations for National Book Lovers Day.

Top of the list is working with our friends at the Booksellers Association, producing a Book Bag big enough for a giant.  This enormous, eye-catching, experiential prop has been seen in the entrance to Foyles Bookshop, centrepeice at IBF16 exhibition and even suspended in an airy atrium at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Here at Scene2, we love books and we love producing engaging giant props too!

One of our projects this month has been to be part of the launch of the BFG film in Leicester Square, London and inside Lancaster House, right next door to Buckingham Palace.

BFG - Giants footprint

Project Assistant – Christina Hedges has summed up her experience in her blog:

The BFG has, for the last few weeks, consumed the workshop. Install day had finally arrived….3pm Lancaster House, right in front of Buckingham Palace, we unloaded our lorry of props into the stunning foyer of the building. There must have been 100+ other extra staff from crew to caterers but we managed to work around them and even got an extra hand off the crew to unload. I realised how important it is to revert back to the original client visuals in this situation, as we hadn’t been told very much information about the install (wasn’t even sure which side of the grand stairs it was going on) so using these visuals and tracking down the PM of the event set us out on the right foot. There were no hiccups and although the install took longer than expected due to lengthy and extremely tight security measures,  the compliments and thanks we received after the event were great. It definitely brought a smile to peoples faces when they recognised the scene from the film, and even more so when they walked up the stairs to see the top of the giant grandfather clock table set with trays of eggs, toast and with a sword, garden fork and shovel as cutlery!

BFG - Grandfather Clock Table


(image supplied by Broadwalk Shopping Centre)

The Broadwalk shoppers experience how families in Sierra Leone live

Visitors to The Broadwalk Centre in Edgeware can experience the living conditions of families in Sierra Leone as the centre has teamed up with #World Vision, the world’s largest international children’s charity, to host an experiential installation – #journeyofhope.

The installation which was designed, built and installed by Scene2 is formed of two large #experiential huts where visitors can learn about what life is like for families before and after #worldvision intervention.

The installation at the busy Broadwalk shopping centre in Edgeware is the next stop on the #journeyofhope UK tour which is currently in it’s 5th year.

World Vision - Experiential

Each hut is dressed to replicate the home of a real Sierra Leone woman, Miatta, and her family. Visitors will be able to learn about the challenges the family face in their day to day lives through artefacts, pictures and storytelling sessions. As people move through to the second hut they will witness a transformed space which showcases how life could be for Miatta, and other Sierra Leonean women, if they had help and support from the worldwide community. Visitors will be able to learn what they can do to make these improvements a reality.” The Broadwalk Centre, Edgeware.

Local children from the Edgeware Primary School officially opened the installation by taking part in private tours along with a djembe drum workshops.

The #journeyofhope installation is open every day from 9am – 6pm until Sunday 31st July.

Christina Hedges – Production Assistant, gives a behind the scenes, sneaky peak, at Scene2 this week.

Giant props are right up our street, so when we were asked to get involved with set elements for the
opening of the BFG film this weekend, we jumped at the chance.

In the workshop, the giant footprint is underway and looking great.
I learnt what Jesmonite is and does, and how its being used with the footprint.
The grandfather clocks are being modified to create the table legs for the giant’s table.

We are working on the logistics for the baby grand piano and are expecting delivery
within the next few hours. The cost of this was much more than expected as it isn’t
a simple load, and actually rather heavy!
We are excited about the installation this Sunday, with only 1.5 hours to get it all into place it will be all hands on deck.

In a surprising and clever commercialization move to attract visitors, Chelsea Football Club have (more…)