pop up event

How Nike Likes to Celebrate Anniversaries

Are anniversaries promotional? We’d like to think so. Nike’s shoe-inspired pop-ups have come a long way. Now, they’re extending into dynamic promotional territory with the brand’s “Sneakeasy” in promotion of its Nike Air Max. Air Max Day is a thing, and it’s been celebrated every year for the past four years. Highlighting the company’s past and present designs, Air Max Day is a much-celebrated event guaranteed to turn heads.

From East Coast to West Coast

In promotion of the Air Max’s 30 years of success, Nike’s Sneakeasy pop-up stand took an always-accessible approach. It traveled from New York City to Chicago, stopping in Toronto and Los Angeles on the way. Select locations featured the VaporMax model—which is one of the company’s newest, coveted, model.

Yeah, the event was based on R.S.V.P. interactions. That said, Nike’s interactive experiences don’t come cheap. Marketing real estate in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Chicago is top-tier, and the brand excelled in highlighting its strategy while throwing a rad party.

All About the Art

The Sneakeasy, while inherently a promotional stand, offered interactive art experiences. Hosting live music performances, curated exhibits and local influencers, the Sneakeasy was a one-stop culture shop for locals and travelers alike. The interactive Air Max display was, of course, the centerpiece. Alongside the Nike Air Max 1 Flyknit, the Nike Air VaporMax made quite an impact.

Nike pulled it off by showcasing its many innovations, remixes and re-releases. According to Matthew Kneller, Nike North America’s communications director, it was the brand’s first-ever stab at a speakeasy-inspired pop-up. Understandably, speakeasies and sports don’t always mix. By commodifying quality products, however, Nike succeeded in giving consumers full product access while retaining the classiness and intimacy of a true-blue speakeasy display.

An Unorthodox Event Space

The Sneakeasy’s event spaces are worth mentioning. At every destination, Nike planted its feet in urban locations to engage consumers. The Toronto Sneakeasy, for example, was established in an unoccupied Chinatown warehouse. While unorthodox, the location still garnered attention. Guests who procured golden tickets from Nike’s much-advertised Air Max Bus were given VIP access. At every location, interiors were inspired by the much-loved Air Mx 90 style. There were upside-down shoe portraits. There were benches. Yes, there were Nike-themed history displays. Nike relied on intelligent modern artists to pull off the look—and it worked.

The first Air Max shoe rolled out in 1987. This brand cornerstone was highlighted by Bryan Espiritu—an artist who created a “Tear down this wall” display in homage to President Ronald Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech. Nike is a brand of culture. Like all cultural displays, its anniversary paired class with a modern edge. It was memorable, serving as modern proof that anniversaries still have great marketing potential. 

Pop Up Event Trend: How Popular Mechanics made DIYers out of Attendees


Popular Mechanics has been in the game for a while, helping DIY pros reinvigorate their lifestyles with new, exciting opportunities. While not typically found chilling with Esquire and GQ, its newest approach to industry appearance has revitalized some of its deeper aspects. Popular Mechanics invented The Lodge: The Ultimate Winter Clubhouse. Event-goers were invited to partake in the stylishness underlining Popular Mechanics. Of course, feasts, crafts and cocktails were part of the package.

Brand Modernization

Today, brands face industry growth with intensity. Unsurprisingly, constant modernization is responsible for success. Popular Mechanics, displayed through the Hearst publication, powered The Lodge by inviting over 500 attendees. The Lodge was a modern digital extravaganza, offering hands-on demos, industry news and tastings. The Hearst, having celebrated its 115th anniversary, assisted Popular Mechanics with an intelligent team of publication partners and editors.

New advertisers, too, were present. Popular Mechanics has worked on reinvigorating its public appearance for years. While media appearances worked well in the past, a closer approach was needed to redistribute creativity and harness success. The Lodge, in essence, served to embody the modern industry’s latest, greatest technological features.

A Massive Event Space

The Ultimate Winter Weekend Clubhouse was established in Kinfolk94—which is a well-known retail and event space powered in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section. The event prioritized earthy tones, pinpointing the Popular Mechanics DIY vibe with backdrops, beer and digital outdoor landscape displays. Facebook Live, meanwhile, helped event-goers share demos, activate premium digital options and view trending GIFs.

Timothy Dahl, West Coast editor for Popular Mechanics, demoed the brand’s DIY firewood coasters. A Dremel hand tool seminar and workshop was had, as was a meeting with Slightly Alabama’s Dana Glaser. Attendees were invited to craft Brooklyn leather accessories, custom leather wallets and other designs. Knickerbocker MFG’s Brian Brinkley, meanwhile, helped attendees customize bandanas, craft new retro looks and discuss modern style.

Meeting in the Middle

Because Popular Mechanics upholds the virtues of “rustic living,” craftiness and resourcefulness, its public extravaganza in The Lodge offered a highly unique opportunity. Industry appearances can be grown. They can also be adapted. By pairing technology with its age-old love of all things DIY, Popular Mechanics proved itself to be a long-term provider wile molding to new marketing demands.

Among its wonderful presenters, Popular Mechanics enlisted Jeff Conley—a neo-folk musician—to perform with a DIY ukulele crafted from a YETI water bottle. If the display didn’t depict the new Popular Mechanics approach enough, Blue Moon’s beer tastings certainly warmed patrons up. The Popular Mechanics experience was a practical one, where hands-on experiences surpassed industry expectations. The marketer’s struggle, today, exists in adapting old ideas to an ever-growing, increasingly demanding, industry. Fortunately, old dogs can learn new tricks—and Popular Mechanics is one of the oldest dogs around.