From Poutine VR to Edible Insects, London Pop-Ups Woo the Curious

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Air Canada London Poutinerie VR experience 2017

Increasingly popular as an experiential marketing tool—and to fill empty storefronts and create buzz with target audiences—branded pop-ups have become a mainstay of retail, particularly during the holiday season. From Irish hooch to edible insects, flirty fashion to daring design to Canadian comfort food (with a side of VR and free flights) here’s a look at ten pop-ups in London that London locals, holiday shoppers and tourists can now check out:

Nasty Gal (open through November 29th) was acquired by Boohoo earlier this year for $20m. Now the American fashion label started by #GirlBoss Sophia Amoruso as an eBay store has opened a pop-up shop at 3-4 Carnaby Street, its first brick-and-mortar presence outside of the U.S.. The two-floor pop-up in a former American Apparel store spans more than 2,740 square feet and features Nasty Gal’s new 20-piece Studio collection, autumn clothing and accessories ranges. The new collection, available on November 7, features embellished velvet jumpsuits and tiered floor-length gowns. Retail prices range from £50 for a rose pink embellished cropped blouse to £150 for selected jumpsuits and maxi-dresses. Customers can try on items in store, have them delivered to the pop-up or their home next-day, and order more online. The pop-up will host DJ sets, weekly events and live talks.


Naiise (now through November 19th) is a hip boutique from Singapore, has popped-up in London’s trendy Shoreditch area. Dennis Tay and his wife, Amanda Eng, set up shop in 2013 as an online platform for selling quirky homeware and fashion at reasonable prices. Opening six brick-and-mortar stores in Singapore in the last four years, the brand’s pop-up in The Old Truman Brewery in London highlights craft and design from independent designers; limited edition products such as an origami bulldog designed by ninetyninestates and G.F.Smith; and a geometric print silk scarf from Binary Style. There’s even a Stress Less Printing Press where customers can design a print to take home, and a new UK e-commerce site. Tay told the Standard, “our concept in essence is that our products are cool and people love them. We decided to come to London because it’s the world’s design capital.”


Bán Poitín, Ireland’s leading brand of its underground secret poitin, has surfaced above-ground for a six-week “pop-up speakeasy” dubbed 1661. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the alcoholic beverage’s decriminalization, Dublin’s original poitin bar is decamping to the basement of Berlin Café on Dame Lane for a six-week residency (ending November 26th) with guest bartenders and brand partners.

1661 offers ten cocktails using poitín from 18 different Irish distillers, including Strawboys, Glendalough, and Teeling Spirit of Dublin. The homemade moonshine produced from potatoes, barley or crab apples and distilled from 60 to 95% alcohol by volume (ABV) was outlawed in 1661 (hence the name), approved for export in 1989 and then for consumption in Ireland in 1998.


#coolnotcold @aircanada #shoreditch #bluesky #hackney #poutine #poutinefries #poutinerie

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Air Canada (November 3-11) unveils its #CoolNotCold campaign wooing travel from London to ‘cool not cold’ destinations in the Americas this winter with a pop-up Poutinerie in Hoxton in western Shoreditch. A virtual reality experience gives visitors a chance to enter an Instagram and Twitter competition to win flights to 10 destinations.

#AirCanada #VirtualReality #CoolNotCold #DianeGoldie #LastKnownPhoto

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The Poutinerie offers twists on the iconic French Canadian dish in support of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, including Miami’s South Beach Pollo made up of corn-dusted fries, white cheese, pulled chicken and avocado and Halifax Downstream Poutine: French fries, Canadian lobster, cheese curds and shellfish gravy. “The #CoolNotCold campaign is part of Air Canada’s new push to challenge what UK travellers think about the Americas in winter” said Andrew Edmonds, Air Canada’s UK Manager of Business Travel Sales. “We want to encourage everyone to explore what these fantastic destinations have to offer all year round.” RSVP here.


Deliveroo (November 6-11) is delivering a pop-up dining experience exclusively in Shoreditch in partnership with EatGrub. Champions of entomophagy—also known as eating insects—founders Shami Radia and Neil Whippey aim to “bring tasty insect dishes to the British palate,” touting the nutritional and environmental benefits.
Thai chef Seb Holmes (Farang, Smoking Goat, Begging Bowl) has created dishes featuring insect miang, soy crickets and pandanus leaf, Som Tam salad of salted crickets and smoked tomato. Hailed as a solution in addressing sustainability and food production worldwide, entomophagy is gaining popularity Radia told Eater—so “Having a major brand like Deliveroo step into this arena and support us is a huge step forward, and we’re very excited to be working with them.”


Ferrero Rocher (December 1-17): Behind the Layers will open in Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, next month with a multi-sensory chocolate tasting experience (but no insects) served inside a 360-degree light and sound performance. Drinks from mixology maestros Liquid Chefs will greet guests at the door while five mini desserts have been created by celebrated chef Paul Hannagen. Labels with personalized calligraphy, ideal for Christmas gifts, are available along with the drinks and nibbles. “Visitors to Westfield centres have come to expect the very best of innovative concepts and experiences when they visit our centres,” Myf Ryan, CMO of Westfield UK & Europe, commented. “We are delighted to be working with Ferrero Rocher to bring to our customers this truly immersive, multi-sensory experience and we have no doubt that Ferrero Rocher Behind the Layers will one of our biggest, most exciting events this year.”

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