Cosmetics retailer Lush offered Chicagoans some “good, clean fun” May 4-6 with a quirky pop-up experience that highlighted the brand’s commitment to producing fresh, handmade products. Set in Millennium Park just outside Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate sculpture (“the bean”), the brand brought its Lush in the Park experience to more than 3,000 consumers, ultimately dishing out 17,000 samples over the course of the three-day event.
At the heart of the activation stood a 400-square-foot walk-in kitchen installation adorned with fresh greenery and an eye-catching Lush in the Park neon sign. Before entering the structure during the event’s morning hours, consumers participated in a touchscreen engagement to determine their personal style based on feelings and scents. The touchpoint not only created a more personalized experience but underscored the brand’s newly launched app by mimicking the way it operates.
Once consumers were matched with one of three best-selling Lush products—Yuzu and Cocoa shower cream, Catastrophe Cosmetic fresh face mask or Ocean Salt face and body scrub—they were invited to enter the pop-up in small groups through a “refrigerator door” that opened up to reveal the kitchen-themed environment. Inside, attendees were introduced to a team of compounders, who serve as the product specialists that hand-make all of Lush’s offerings at the brand’s Vancouver and Toronto factories.
Consumers were encouraged to interact with the compounders as they sliced and diced fresh ingredients like blueberries and lemons in front of them, then set to work creating the three products being showcased. Participants walked away with a full-size version of their pre-selected product, along with smaller samples of the other two offerings.
Each afternoon, Lush swapped out the intimate compounder experience to offer an open house-style environment that functioned like a cooking show, featuring a lead host and a team of compounders. The crew discussed how the brand’s products came to market, as well as its firm commitment to ethical standards, including a strict policy against animal testing. Consumers who participated in this portion of the experience left with standard-size samples of all three products.
Additional engagements included convex mirrors inside the structure where consumers could take original selfies that captured the reflection of the entire pop-up, along with a wall of screens that offered a glimpse into how products are made on-site at the brand’s factories. The activation also included a live-streamed episode of the brand’s “Lush Live” series to give virtual fans a tour of the pop-up experience and a chance to win Lush prize packages via social media. The 30-minute special earned an estimated reach of three million viewers.
“We wanted [attendees] to understand that that handmade element is real,” says Stephanie Jamieson, retail marketing specialist at Lush. “There isn’t a machine making these products. We wanted them to be able to ask questions and really understand how we, as a brand, take so much pride in the way that we make the products and how we source the ingredients and how they get put together. And it’s not a secret recipe that we don’t give out. It’s a way for them to learn with us and also be really hands-on.” Agency: TH Productions, New York City.
Gallery: Lush in the Park Spotlights Handmade Cosmetics