Recreating history for coffee lovers: Peet’s pop-up

Peet's Coffee: , , , ,

Peet’s Coffee, the iconic Berkeley, CA coffee brand, opened in Shanghai toward the end of 2017 into a market that loves coffee, but is fast becoming completely saturated in coffee.

And while there’s a love for the beverage, the Peet’s brand is not known to the Chinese audience. Relatively unknown outside of the west coast of the United States, people think that Peet’s is a new or local brand, rather than one of the world’s Coffee Masters.

In Shanghai, the coffee market is dominated by Starbucks – with over 800 Starbucks stores in the city. It is now rolling out the Roastery and Reserve editions which are much more in line with the ‘craft’ of coffee. With startup Chinese companies like Luckin Coffee opening 2,500 stores in China in 2019 alone, it’s hard to stand out and be different.

So as Peet’s opened its 10th store in Shanghai in 2019, with 10 more across China planned in 2020, it needed to find a brand angle for people to buy into, and stand out from the startups and the mainstream.

Coffee is huge in China. Boutique little coffee shops are popping up on every street corner and all the major players are already there. We needed to find something that made a new shop stand out.

We know that in China, heritage and history stands for a lot. All Chinese brands are essentially born in the last 15-20 years, so international luxury or retail brands always use a ‘since 1950’-esque approach to differentiate among their peers.

It wasn’t long before we realized that Peet’s had a 60-year historical story to tell – more than any competitor in China. And most people in Shanghai think that Starbucks invented coffee. So we dug deep into that as the major insight to get our idea off the ground. That people buy history.

Recreate the first Peet’s store from Vine Street in Berkeley in the middle of the city of Shanghai.

The pop-up experience took guests back in time complete with its colorful characters, sights and sounds to enjoy Peet’s rich brand history.

The store offered a wide range of hand-crafted coffees to buy and sample, plus a ton of experiences. This included crafting personalized t-shirts, tote bags, and badges, with iconic patterns and colors appropriated from the 1960s era.

Customers could also take photos in a photo booth, which can be physically printed or digitally shared on social media.

To further enhance the retro ambience, Peet’s Coffee invited buskers to perform outside the premises. And as part of the activation, a branded space next door named Peet’s Park, encouraged guests to relax and mingle with one another.

The space was also transformed into an open-air cinema, enabling guests to relive the 1960s movie experience. It was an amazing immersive environment that people could instantly share – educating the public on the heritage of Peet’s as well as creating a fun interactive world that is a tribute to Alfred Peet himself.

Apart from a green-screen photo booth, the technology used for the event was quite minimal. However, the best use of technology was the KPI measurement tactics we got Peet’s to use.

Guests had to scan QR codes that we placed onsite to ‘follow’ Peet’s on WeChat if they wanted to take part in any interactivity. Peet’s could then track how many guests in the next 30 days went to a Peet’s store to make a purchase through WeChat (China’s number one online payment system).

One month later, Peet’s could see that 16% of people who took part onsite then returned to Peet’s physical store – which is very high.

The client and the venue were really taken back by the traffic and buzz around the pop-up. So much that they instantly decided to extend the pop-up from 4 days to 6 days during the event.

Over the 6 days, key results include:

  • Over 85,000 RMB sales
  • Over 35,000 traffic in the pop-up experience
  • Over 11 million RMB worth of online media exposure with 65,000 online engagements driven through the Peet’s WeChat page