Pop Goes the Business Plan

Pop-up stores, pop-up coffee bars, pop-up beer dispensers. The city’s gone pop-up mad. There’s a unit just off Orchard that … oops, no, it’s gone already. It’s now at … oh, forget it, we can’t keep track. We can, however, exclusively reveal that next week there’ll be a pop-up sheep-shearing stall in front of Marina Bay Sands, and the following week a pop-up prison operating out of a taxi parked behind Fort Canning. You heard it here first.What is it with brands and pop-ups these days? It’s like they’ve taken the old Pringles motto “Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop” to heart. What happened to good old bricks and mortar, punitive rent and painfully long leases? How are we supposed to get refunds if the store no longer exists? Whatever’s next—a pop-up fizzy pop stand? A pop music pop-up fronted by Iggy Pop? A popular pop-up pop art point of purchase (POP) run by some moms and pops? More to the point, how do we keep up? The marketing nerds behind these blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em outlets want us to follow them on Facebook or tickle them on Twitter, but we have a better idea: A pop-up counterattack against all pop-up endeavors. Beat them at their own game. Pop their best laid plans with some needle-sharp cynicism.It’s easy: Pick a random location and don’t show up. Pick a product and don’t consume it for three days. Go to a store, choose an item, proceed to the checkout, and then disappear when it comes time to pay. Create a new profile on Facebook, follow the brand in question, wait for them to send out the invite, then immediately deactivate your account. It’s guerilla, it’s subversive, it’s everything these PR nuts think is great. In fact, you can probably expect a phone call from their HR department within minutes. Of course, to really get into the spirit of this, you’re going to need a pop-up phone number; a burner like those guys in The Wire so that when the marketers call through all they hear is the sound of their own hopes and dreams being cruelly popped.