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Kabooki: The ‘empty’ pop-up shop

Last month Kabooki, the company behind the Lego Wear license, launched a limited edition collection for adults at a playful pop-up in London, however instead of a shop with rails full of clothing, nothing was inside except plain white walls and some Snapcode – a sort of QR code for Snapchat – on a plinth.

Instead customers loaded up Snapchat and pointed it towards the Snapcode, which then acted as a portal into an augmented reality fashion boutique, where customers could browse and buy the limited edition range of streetwear.

Retail Sector spoke to Will Scougal, director of EMEA creative strategy at Snap, to hear more about the technology.

Can you walk me through the idea behind the Lego Wear pop-up?

Lego has an amazing history of creating incredible retail experiences and had briefed their agency (We Are Social) to experiment with what that experience could look like for the launch of the Kabooki Lego Wear urban collection – their first line of adult clothing. We Are Social, had recently attended Snapchat’s  ‘Think in AR’ workshop and been accredited as a Snapchat Lens Studio Partner.

We Are Social responded to the brief with the idea of launching the collection via a Snapchat portal Lens, essentially an AR retail experience, which they then built in the Lens Studio, using Snapchat’s free AR software.

Throughout the process We Are Social worked with Snapchat’s Creative Strategy team to develop the concept and integrate best practice into the experience. Once built, Lego’s portal store was launched via a Snapcode which, once scanned, allows customers to enter the store, browse and buy the limited edition range of streetwear clothing for adults.

The virtual boutique had all the features you would expect in a bricks and mortar store, for example, you can browse the clothing range and buy online through an integrated ‘Shop now’ feature. We also have a lot of fun features such as DJ booth – where you can change the music and an arcade machine.

The physical pop-up itself was an extension of the overall campaign and a great way to draw attention to the portal retail experience. Using the space in Fitzrovia, just off Oxford Street, to open an empty shop with nothing in it except a Snapcode on a plinth was a really nice way of illustrating how AR can be used to create an experience that can opened anywhere at anytime, essentially you didn’t need to be in the space to explore and shop the collection.

How does the technology work?

Snapchat AR is about augmenting yourself and the world around you as you see it through the Snapchat camera. Creating an experience that enhances what you’re seeing through play or utility. In this case Lego did both.The Lego portal was created in Snapchat’s Lens Studio, which lets anyone create their own AR experience for free.

Snap wants to democratise AR and since we launched Lens Studio in 2017 we’ve seen over 300,000 Lens created, which have been viewed over 35 billion times. From a technical point of view anyone can download the Lens Studio and start playing with and making AR for Snapchat. When it comes to crafting something as detailed and specific for a brand like Lego brands often work with one of our accredited Lens Studio partners and Snapchat’s Creative Strategy team.

How do you think this enhances the consumer experience?

AR can both augment an existing retail experience, as seen in our recent work with Nike for LeBron James [A Snapchat AR filter for House of Hoops by Foot Locker which had James burst out of a Nike poster in super slow-motion] or create an entirely new one. The key word here is experience.

Whatever is created needs to be something people will choose to spend time with. Something they will choose to enter and explore. Snapchat AR is an experience people choose to pay attention to, a lot like a physical retail space.

Do you think this is something that we will start to see more in the retail space?

Yes, absolutely. Brands are increasingly thinking about how to contribute to the experiences people choose to take part in as they go about their day. There are so many ways people can spend their time, brands recognise this and are creating more opportunities to connect with consumers.

Would this type of store work as a permanent fixture or is it better for pop-ups and special events?

Some retail outlets change their stock with seasons, others with offers, collection and launches, some change the floor lay out day-by-day. Any full time AR space would need to address the business objective of the brand, and adapt and change to suit the needs of the people it’s addressing. The Lego pop up highlights that this particular store can be opened anywhere at anytime on any street, and was a great way to launch a limited edition urban Lego Wear range across multiple markets.

Helping our partners work out how Snapchat Lens can address a business objective is one of the joys of our job.

How else can Snapchat AR be used in the retail space? Will we see it other spaces such as changing rooms?

Snapchatters use the platform throughout the day to talk to their closest friends with pictures. The retail space is just one of the many spaces AR can play a part. We’ve seen brands use Lens to launch  and showcase products, extend brand propositions, turn TV ads into experiences people take part in as opposed to just watch, augment out of home and drive direct commercial objectives.

What was the reaction to the store?

The reaction has been awesome! News of the pop-store was covered in media across the globe. On the day we had a steady stream of traffic to the store, and since then we have seen lots of engagement within the portal.


The Kabooki pop-up store was a special one day event, retailers interested in creating their own unique Snap filter can learn more by visiting the Lens Studio.

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