8 Brands That Got Festive With Pop-ups This Holiday Season

They used AR, arcade games, yoga and more to inspire shopping

the outdoor facade of a building with a small bridge area and a bunch of christmas trees
Chanel's No. 5 in the Snow pop-up took over The Standard, High Line in New York. Chanel
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

The holiday season is an ideal time for brands to bring online shops and campaigns offline with interactive pop-ups, which can provide consumers with gift ideas and festive social media fodder. From Chanel’s wintery pop-up with an AR snow globe to Yahoo Mail and BuzzFeed’s gamified marketplace, here’s how eight brands have engaged consumers this season.

Yahoo Mail and BuzzFeed’s Slay the Holidays

Yahoo Mail and BuzzFeed's pop-up had interactive stations including the Unsubscribe Game.

Yahoo Mail introduced consumers to its redesign by partnering with BuzzFeed for a day-long holiday experience on Dec. 13 in New York. The event had a number of interactive stations, including the Unsubscribe Game, a carnival-style booth where guests could crumple and toss unwanted emails into “unsubscribe” baskets while a “junk mail” heckler tried to block their attempts.

Other stations included a Tasty cookie decorating station, a mini marketplace with vendors curated by BuzzFeed where guests took BuzzFeed and Yahoo email quizzes. Guests could keep track of their participation at each station with an “inbox checklist,” which they could redeem for prizes. The two brands tapped Crony Creative to produce the experience.

Chanel’s No.5 in the Snow

Chanel's ski chalet pop-up also had stations for crafts, holiday treats and ice skating.

Chanel hosted a free public pop-up resembling a stylish ski chalet, inspired by the French fashion house’s 2019 holiday campaign for the No.5 L’eau fragrance. The winter-themed activation took over The Standard, High Line in New York from Dec. 12-15, offering ice skating along with seasonal treats and photo ops.

The brand created an AR experience tied to the pop-up, inviting consumers to unlock a branded snow globe on their mobile devices. The holiday campaign stars brand ambassador Lily-Rose Depp, who stares into a snow globe holding the fragrance.

TheSkimm’s Celebrate Smarter Shop

TheSkimm incorporated its signature teal color in a pop-up selling products from the brand's new online shop.

TheSkimm opened its first online store and physical pop-up shop that aims to make the holiday shopping experience less stressful. Following a survey of its audience, the female millennial-focused media company found that its readers spend 20 hours preparing for the holiday season on average; 68% said shopping for gifts is their top stressor.

The brand worked with experiential marketing agency Pop-Up Mob to create the physical store, which is open through Dec. 24 in New York. The store offers three floors of curated products found in the online shop, which is separated by the categories of gifting, event hosting, travel and wellness. The pop-up is also hosting live programming that targets TheSkimm’s audience, including workout classes, wine tastings and live tapings of the Skimm’d From the Couch podcast.

Lego’s 12 Rebuilds of Christmas

Lego's 12 installations at the Savoy included a dragon Christmas tree.
Lego also created a red Harley Davison motorcycle.

The Lego Group partnered with The Savoy in London to design 12 Lego displays in the hotel for the holiday season, including a dragon Christmas tree and a red Harley Davidson motorcycle. The event follows the Danish company’s first global campaign in 30 years, Rebuild the World, which aims to inspire consumers with the message of creativity being a necessary lifelong skill.

The event invited hotel guests to build a Lego decoration and share it on social media with the hashtag #BuildToGive. The hotel and the brand hosted two workshops led by Lego brand ambassadors to teach guests how to get creative with their builds. For every decoration built and shared on social, the brand is donating a Lego set to a child in need in hospitals, foster homes or underserved communities.

PopSugar’s Sugar Chalet

The Sugar Chalet held wellness events including Athleta-sponsored yoga classes.

PopSugar held a day-long consumer experience in New York’s Bryant Park in November to engage its predominantly female millennial audience. The media company worked with David Stark Design to create a winter chalet-inspired space, which had interactive stations from brand partners including Elf Cosmetics, Athleta and Nature’s Way. The event had meditation sessions and yoga classes, along with food kiosks and a shopping bazaar. Read more about the Sugar Chalet and PopSugar’s efforts to engage consumers offline.

Kohl’s New Gifts at Every Turn

The Simply Vera space offered guests digital sketches.

ian.zelaya@adweek.com Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.