How Hands-on Pop-ups are Demonstrating the Science Behind CPG Products

It’s no secret that consumers are more skeptical and discerning than ever about the types of CPG products they’re willing to use, and pay for. More and more, they’re looking for a peek “under the hood” to understand how products work and the types of ingredients they’re made of.

In response, brands like Tide and OGX have been hosting science lab-themed pop-up activations that let attendees delve into the innerworkings of products with hands-on interactives that are typically led by brand specialists. The strategy is helping CPG companies validate the quality of their ingredients and processes, and in some cases, justify their products’ price tags. Here’s a look at the trend in action.

soma-innovation-lab-feb-2022-shopping-racks_teaserRelated Strategies:


To launch its Hair Filler and Repair System earlier this year, Garnier Fructis hosted a lab-themed pop-up in Los Angeles that focused on the system’s promise to repair hair “seven layers deep.” Attendees were invited to partake in various experiments and observe demos designed to showcase the efficacy of Hair Filler products. Adding to the theme were vitamin C elixirs and nutrient-rich hors d’oeuvres. Read more here.



Natural Products Expo West Herb PharmIt wasn’t a standalone pop-up, but at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA, Herb Farm leveraged its exhibit to educate the audience on the benefits of mushrooms. The brand’s Mushroom Wellness display let attendees see the mycelium network, the structure that grows mushrooms, as well as explore different types of mushrooms under an actual microscope. At a show where so much conversation was about the product’s impact on human health, a brand taking a different approach and leaning into attendees’ curiosity to dig deeper into the science and get hands-on, paid off. Read more here.



At Kenvue’s storytelling-themed media event at the New York Public Library, the corporation showcased a collection of its products in a space that was organized into book-themed installations representing both new and legacy Kenvue brands, like Zarbee’s and Neutrogena. Each installation included an interactive demo, a chance to speak to the scientists behind the products and opportunities for sampling. (Agencies: M Booth Health; ADM Creative Group) Read more here.

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Photo: Courtesy of Kenvue



La_Roche_Posay_Positivity_Lab graphicLaunched in 2020, La Roche-Posay’s Acne Positivity Day (Sept. 1) was designed to spread acceptance for all skin types and destigmatize acne. To celebrate the occasion, La Roche hosted an Acne Positivity Lab pop-up in New York City where consumers could learn more about the science behind certain skin conditions and gather tips for combatting them.

The pop-up included a “Science of Skin” exhibit, a meditation lounge in partnership with obé Fitness, a Doodle Bar with custom art by local artists, and a Positivity Photo Booth. The brand also brought in board-certified dermatologists to help educate attendees further on skin, acne and its products. Read more here.



To promote its Lip Sleeping Mask and Water Bank Collection, Laneige activated a “Hydration School” pop-up in Los Angeles, followed by a Hydration School pop-up school bus experience in Manhattan. For the New York experience, attendees entered the first level of the bus and observed wall messaging that added a science-lab vibe and communicated the idea that the brand’s products are all effective and legitimate.

Consumers received in-depth skin-consultations with a Laneige beauty expert, sat in on an educational talk and got a chance to sample products from the hydration booth. Then, they headed up to the double-decker’s rooftop floor for prizes, branded candy, photo ops and product samples. Across three weekends, the activation garnered more than 1 million impressions. (Partner: Food Truck Promotions) Read more here.



OGX zeroed in on its product formulas with a “Love is in the Hair” pop-up in Santa Monica, CA, that gave consumers an inside glance at the science behind its products. Brand ambassadors dressed in white lab coats directed consumers through the pop-up installation, which featured two “Love Labs” experiences. The “Learn It” experience invited consumers to study product ingredients and formulas through scientific activities like a viscosity and pH test. Read more here.

mkg-ogx-love labs 2022_mixing ingredients science lab-themed pop-up

Photo credit: Ben Draper Photography



Tide made its debut at SXSW this year with “the biggest laundry innovation of the 21st century” and a three-day launch event for Tide evo, its new eco-friendly, 100-percent concentrated detergent that comes in a tile form. The activation’s biggest attractions were two interactive scientific stations that were operated by the very scientists who invented evo.

One beaker-stacked station showcased the fibers that evo tiles are made of, and how quickly they dissolve. The other invited attendees to “spill” chili oil on a piece of fabric, then dissolve it using Tide evo. The scientists not only intrigued attendees, but added a thick layer of authenticity to the product launch. (Agencies: MKG, activation; MMC, p.r.) Read more here.

SXSW 2024_Tide evo activation_stain mixing station

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
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