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pop up extreme : the Olympic machine

Going anywhere near London during the Olympic Games ? Make sure you take your credit / debit card (preferably Visa – an official “Commercial Partner” of London 2012 !)

I’ve been wondering… what percentage of the population would not know that the Olympic Games are almost with us again ? Nearly every person on this planet – certainly those with access to a television, radio, newspaper, computer or smart phone – will be aware that the international teams and media are arriving, the torch is nearing the stadium – and of course controversies over ticket sales and logistics and doping tests are gaining momentum…. Yep, welcome to the Games of the XXX Olympiad (London, 27th July to 12th August 2012)

The modern Olympics is surely one of the most anticipated and planned events the world experiences – usually 8 years of hype and manic construction culminating in a little over 2 weeks of ceremonies and competition (with a further 10 days or so of Paralympics shortly after). Involving a massive investment of capital (London 2012 is estimated at £9billion), huge overhauls of transport and security infrastructures – and the inevitable disruptions to the 100’s of thousands of people trying to go about their usual routines. For a brief time the spotlights shine on the host city, athletes are hailed as champions… and everyone feels warm and fuzzy in a global spirit of hope and humanity

The anticipation and excitement leading up to the ‘Games is no accident. … it is a serious commercial venture for many of the global superbrands (the 2012 website includes no less than 18 “Commercial Partners”) – it opens the lid of a giant consumer machine. The Olympics represent big business, with massive advertising and marketing dollars thrown at the event. Who has not seen a TV, print or internet ad recently, shouting your favourite brand’s support for the event and our local heroes ? In this context, the Olympic Games must be the ultimate application of a temporary event, heavily promoted to a huge target audience – it is an extreme example of a “pop up” (here today, gone tomorrow…) – attracting maximum resources of marketing and hype. If this same effort was thrown at your little pop up shop… just imagine the crowds queuing up around the block !

Olympics fever doesn’t only occur within the sporting precincts of the host city / nation. Hundreds of extra thousands of tourists, competitors, organisers and media will flock into extended neighbourhoods, and even the locals will venture out…. all of them caught up in the positive carnival atmosphere, ready to have a good time (and spend a little cash). Which of course provides the perfect opportunity for some lesser brands (ie. not only the super “Commercial Partners”) to indulge in some clever marketing as well. As such, London is currently in the grip of a pop-up revolution, as many temporary stores have opened in the weeks leading up to the Games.

Elle on-line Fashion Magazine summarises the latest offerings :

H&M (sporting collections) opened on 6th July in Covent Garden

The footwear of Brazilian brand Melissa opened in Covent Garden as well, on 13th July

Opening Ceremony (designer fashion) also chose Covent Garden, opening on 19th July

Covent Garden sure seems the destination of choice – with Chanel (classic fragrances and beauty collections) opening there too… on 24th July

Iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld will open a dedicated space within Selfridges (Oxford St), from 24th July

and…. Puma (footwear) will host a “500,000 square foot Jamaican-themed social club and outdoor space in East London” from 27th July


featured image : Opening Ceremony pop up store, London July 2012


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