4 Pop Ups You Need to Know About Now

entertainment pop ups

Four entertainment industry pop-ups opened in my neighborhood over the last month. Fans were alerted thru social media (especially twitter, instagram and tumblr) and each attracted huge, enthusiastic crowds of predominantly guys who waited in line for hours, even days.  What can we learn from this? For one, merging FOMO one-off experiences with social media is a winning formula both to create buzz and generate sales.

Let’s start with the most breakthrough concept:

Frank Ocean Album Launch Pop Up (Saturday August 20 @7pm)

This was the most creative, unexpected new twist on pop ups.  The photos (above) do not do it justice. The pop-up launch was planned for 4 cities (NYC, LA, Chicago and London) with a free CD inside of a 360 page glossy magazine of Ocean’s musings, drawings, writings.

In NYC, the pop-up was inside of Iconic Magazines, a totally unassuming corner bodega (despite the name) at 188 Mulberry, corner of Kenmare.

Police had shown up at the store at around 1:30pm and began blocking off the street as the shop was being set up. At 6pm, Frank Ocean updated his Tumblr with information about the specific sites in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and London.

By 7pm, it was picked up by a few websites including Pigeons and Planes. By 8pm the lines were ridiculous.

People were let in a few at a time and initially it looked exactly like an everyday deli. They quickly noticed decals bearing the name of the album and the magazine on the beer refrigerators, the cigar cases, even the deli counter. The pop-up was a full-on takeover of the deli space!  Sonos speakers were also installed to play tracks from the album as people entered the store.

I found out about it from snapchat but by the time I got there the next day, it was all over – only the metal crowd control barriers were left!

I am incredibly impressed with this concept. A pop-up within a deli/convenience store feels fresh to me! Kudos to the entire team for pulling this off!!

See below for info on 3 more: Legalize Ranch Dispensary, Life of Pablo (Kanye West), and Drake’s Revenge Tour.

Legalize Ranch Dispensary @ 2 Rivington Street (July 28-31)


The view from the Street


Eric Andre dropped by and the fans went crazy

This pop up was one of the BEST I’ve seen. Excellent execution all around.  It opened in advance of the Season 4 premiere of the the Eric Andre Show on Cartoon’s Adult Swim. Huge “brotendo” crowds came away with tons of free “Legalize Ranch” swag including t-shirts, air fresheners, and ranch dressing accessories.  My favorite element was the 5-tier ranch dressing fountain. Everyone was greeted with the brotendo handshake – awkward if, like me, you had no clue.


Life of Pablo/Kanye West Pop Up – 393 Broadway (August 19-21)

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 1.10.44 PM

Interior of the store

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 12.49.35 PM

Scene outside

This was another multi-city project with 21 stores opening the same day around the world. In Tribeca, it opened at 10am, I was there by 11 and the line was already 3 blocks long. Major NYPD presence and tons of media. Some complaints about lack of Yeezy sneakers but T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, hats and hoodies decorated in the signature Gothic-style font were available. There was also a brisk resale business underway with fans who had scored items flipping them practically as they left the store.

The pop-up was in a cool art space called The Supermarket. Very clean, minimal layout and design.

All 21 global locations were announced the night before on twitter and kanyewest.com.

Per The NY Post, Kayne paid $170,000 to rent the space for three days. The merchandise was basically cleaned out on the first day, so Kayne supposedly made a killing.


Drake’s REVENGE SummerSixteen Tour Pop Up on the Bowery (August 4-7)


This pop-up coincided with Drake’s shows at Madison Square Garden in NYC. No freebies, the “exclusive” merch was all for sale including t-shirts ($40), hoodies ($60), pants, and hats. All items emblazoned with lyrics and tour/album names e.g. “Revenge” “Views” (the title of Drake’s latest album).

I got a peek inside the space as bouncers let people out/in – looked very basic. Security was tight and only 2-3 people were let in at a time. The windows were postered over and the lines extended all the way down the Bowery onto Spring Street for the entire duration.


Share this post on: