Pop-up delights: How successful are cafés and pop-up shops as brand extensions?

Tucking into a Hello Kitty cupcake or sipping on a coffee inspired by the Moomins is now part of the norm for many fans, as more and more firms are choosing to provide a visual brand extension in the form of a pop-up café or shop.

Over the past few months alone, we have witnessed brands such as Moomins, Nutella, Pop Tarts, Hello Kitty, Shopkins and even iconic rapper Tupac enter this space with their very own themed café, where fans get the chance to taste Tupac’s favourite food dishes, as well as the chance to experience a variety of memorabilia.

Meanwhile, a new limited edition Powerpuff Girls and Justin Bieber store have also opened for fans to enjoy, boasting all types of licensed goodies from apparel and handbags to new experiences for fans to get involved with.

Clearly, this type of brand extension is growing in demand with fans wanting to travel and visit these stores and cafés to get a visual experience of their favourite toy, rapper or food product.

“By creating a brand virtual experience you give the fan base an opportunity to step in and take part in the unique brand ambience,” Gustav Melin, licensing director at Bulls Licensing, licensing agent for the Moomins brand, tells Licensing.biz.

“It is a great way to introduce the property to people who are perhaps not that familiar with the brand. They go to the café for a coffee and end up with a coffee, an experience and more knowledge about the brand as well.

“And for all the fans it is of course a great opportunity to buy branded goods and meet other fans at the same time.”

This set-up might not be for everyone but if they see potential in the idea, they should of course investigate in the possibility.

The licensed Mumin Kaffe chain launched last year, with sites in Helsinki and Finland, as well as Stockholm, which has proven to be a successful form of licensing for the well-known brand.

Melin continues: “I would say that it has been successful, since there are more and more cafés opening around the world and the interest has so far not decreased.

“There are discussions about Moomin cafés in the UK but we cannot relieve when or where at the moment

“Due to the success of the current shops and cafés you will be able see more shops (one most likely in Camden, UK) and cafés open shortly in various markets. The customers seem to enjoy the experience and we would of course like to share the brand values of the Moomins with as many people as possible.”

By offering a limited edition version, fans are given a short time to take part in the experience; ensuring enthusiasts make the most of the opportunity, heading down to a store or café as soon as it opens.

Not only that, by extending a brand in this way, more customers who are not familiar with it may enjoy the engagement of sitting in a Hello Kitty café or pop-up store, while this form of licensing also taps into the adult fan base who enjoyed Moomins as a child, for example.

Melin explains: “People can now enjoy their favourite characters and have a cup of coffee while the kids enjoy the surroundings.”

But why is it only recently we are starting to see huge demand for pop-up shops and cafés? For example throughout Asia this type of brand extension is a popular tool of marketing, according to Melin, while the rest of the world, including the UK, Europe and the US are just starting to realise the profitability and potential of these limited edition brand extensions.

With themed tours and parks also starting to crop up more frequently with The World of Avatar set to launch, while successful tours such as The Making of Harry Potter studio tour continue to prove popular, the demand for offering fans an experience they can remember most definitely is here to stay.

But how can other brands get on board with these extensions? Granted it may not be possible for every company to enter this space, however if you feel your fans would like to sample a cake inspired by your brand or visit a pop-up store filled with licensed memorabilia, then this area certainly isn’t one to miss.

“This set-up might not be for everyone but if they see potential in the idea, they should of course investigate in the possibility,” concludes Melin.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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