In August, the hip-hop deity gave us all a masterclass in how to successfully pull off a pop-up campaign that creates a buzz. Created to build hype for his ultra-anticipated range of album-themed merchandise, the campaign saw Kayne West retail hubs ‘pop up’ across 21 cities, across the globe. Talk about world domination.
So what was the occasion? Custom designed by ‘Yeezy’ himself, the clothing line was created to complement the launch of his latest record, The Life of Pablo. Featuring hoodies, tees, jackets and dad caps, the collection gives fans a chance to step out in swag that would do Kanye proud. All pieces are emblazoned with gothic typeface, designed by legendary LA artist, Cali Thornhill DeWitt.
So what lessons did we learn from Kanye’s global pop-up extravaganza?
Kanye may have been flogging his threads across 21 cities, but that didn’t stop him from customising each experience. From Sydney and Berlin to London and New York, each city was treated to its own original collection featuring unique colorways and logos. After all, street style in the Big Apple is markedly different from trends in the British capital.
From small businesses to music superstars like Kanye West, social media is a wildly powerful advertising tool. In the lead up to his global pop-up sweep, Kanye’s creative agency team used Twitter to reveal the exact locations where fans could get their hands on Pablo merch, prior to the official openings. When the stores went live, Kanye published painfully hip snapshots of every location. In New York and LA, lines extended for blocks, which means clearly Kanye’s hype building strategy worked a treat.
Create an aesthetic treat
As far as aesthetics are concerned, Kanye’s pop-up Pablo stores were bang on the mark. With their stark white walls, bold typography stencils and ultra-minimalist racks, the stores gave off an extreme sense of exclusivity. Within minutes of throwing open their doors, Instagram was flooded with snaps of the stores, selfies included!
In typical Kanye West fashion, entering the pop-up Pablo stores went hand in hand with some pretty diva-esque rules. Firstly, shoppers weren’t allowed to touch the clothing. Purchases were capped at three pieces, and the purchasing process involved customers marking their orders on a piece of paper, then entering the store and finalising their sale within two minutes. At all times, the maximum capacity of any store was three people. While we’re not suggesting SME pop-ups enforce such pretentious rules, Kanye’s procedures do demonstrate the need for absolute efficiency. Things to consider include staff roster, peak periods, stock levels and so on.
Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Kanye pulled of the pop-up sweep of all pop-up sweeps. And he did it with bravado.