Pop-Up Events – A Hot Team Building and Marketing Trend


Pop-Up Events

What are Pop-up Events?

As if by magic, these temporary, unexpected events in unique spaces, pop up overnight. After a few hours or days, they pop down.

By definition, most events are temporary. It is the element of surprise in an unexpected location that distinguishes the pop-up event.

How can you use Pop-up Events?

Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gucci,and other luxury brands have launched pop-up stores. The entertainment industry uses pop-up events for movie launches and CD releases (e.g. P. Diddy’s Last Train To Paris CD). On reality TV, pop-up events turn up as projects on The Apprentice and restaurant wars on cooking shows.

Use them for team building, marketing, product launches, kick-offs, and sales. Pop-up events are also as a unique way of expressing appreciation to employees and clients. For B2B clients, get permission from your client’s CEO to take the event to their location.

My company, Executive Oasis International, has been using pop-up events for almost 10 years now, long before the term was invented.

Here are tips based on what we’ve learned along the way and what we’ve picked up by watching high profile pop-up events.

11 Keys to Pop-up Event Success

Pop-up events may seem impromptu but they require careful planning. You can’t just “wing it” with a with a pop-up event.

  1. To maximize attendance, select an event space in a high traffic area.
    Consult my Event Venues for Pop-up Events feature on Cvent Event Blog.
  2. Book venues well ahead of time.
  3. For public spaces, it is extremely important to ascertain required permits and approvals and secure them well in advance.
  4. For team building that incorporates pop-up event as projects, reserve and pre-pay advertising space.

Example: Visexecutaries Team Building Retreat

Teams are given a deadline to submit their copy and artwork for the pre-paid ad space. It works.The newspaper ads and a radio campaign one of our teams from a Kansas wireless communications designed was so effective that traffic at their retail outlet exploded. Up until closing, customers were running into the store indicating that they had seen the ads and they had been hearing the buzz on the radio all day. So much excitement had been created that they had rushed in after work to take advantage of the special one day promotion. Staff was serving customers well after closing.


  1. Use social media, telephone blitzes and e-mail blasts to get the word out. 
    Social media is an important channel for promoting pop-up events. For this reason, pop-up event projects are ideal for hands-on practice during team building or social media training.
  2. Pre-fabricate components for quick set-up.

As part of our Visexecutaries: Seizing Opportunities in our Shifting Corporate Landscape team building simulation, teams are assigned Apprentice style projects to create sales, marketing or charity events. Each team:

  • shapes its event
  • designs and executes the promotional strategy
  • launches the event
  • measures the results
  • describes their strategy and results in a boardroom presentation

The winning team gets prizes. Funds that are raised are donated to charity. It’s a fun approach with the benefit of helping teams improve their proficiency in the areas of fostering innovation, dealing with change, producing results in a tight timeframe, teamwork, sales, marketing, project management, and social media.

Example: Disney Marketing Pop-up Event

Pre-fabrication made it possible for Disney to unveil a 3 story, pop-up ice castle in Times Square  for the launch of its Limited Time Magic, 52 Weeks of magical surprises promotion.

  1. Set-up overnight to maximize the WOW factor and impact of pop-up events.
    This was a key success factor for the Disney event as well as the Sears Wish Book re-launch events by ALT Terrain at locations like Times Square and Trump Tower.

Example: Sears Wish Book Re-Launch Pop-up Event by ALT Terrain

  1. Create a buzz with celebrity appearances.
  2. Kick things into high gear and instantly draw a crowd with a flash mob.

Example: Destination Marketing by Jamaica Tourist Board

The Jamaica Tourist Board and Flash Mob America teamed and displayed the last 2 points brilliantly.

  1. Nothing engages participants like a contest.
  2. Make it hybrid.
    Invite event attendees to spread the word by posting photos or videos on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Example: Virginia’s Virginia is for Lovers campaign

The public was invited to take photos of the word “LOVE” in giant letters at various attractions where it “popped up”. Photos posted on Twitter or Facebook were eligible for prizes.


Whether it’s a BBQ pop-up pizzeria in the cafeteria for employees, a surprise tea shoppe in your lobby or at one of your retail outlets to thank customers, or a blockbuster public event, the unexpected treat of a pop-up event is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Photo Credits: ALT TERRAIN Used with permission.


Now that you have sampled our innovative approaches to corporate through this blog, we hope that you will keep Executive Oasis International in mind the next time your company requires team building, an executive retreat or on-site consulting to boost the effectiveness of your teams.


Visit Executive Oasis International Website

Request a Quote for Corporate Event Planning Today

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