Case Study: Capco - Covent Garden
London in 2013 was definitely the year of the pop-up. It provided the inspiration for Time Out's unique partnership with CAPCO who were looking to make Covent Garden the capital’s premier Christmas entertainment destination. Time Out saw this as an exciting opportunity to champion a key London area while engaging directly with its audience in creative new ways.
Time Out took over an empty site at 38 King Street, just off Covent Garden Piazza, and set up a pop-up office in the week the area’s Christmas lights were turned on.
With an open-door policy and large shop window, the space functioned as a place where Time Out’s editorial team could collaborate with their readers and produce content for a special Covent Garden magazine issue the following week and to appear live online. This included a reader-voted front cover, a photo shoot with London pantomime dames, a Lego workshop to tie-in with Covent Garden’s giant Lego snow dome, an interview with US YouTube comedy sensation Bo Burnham and a performance from UK Beatbox champion Reeps 1. Time Out also produced its Christmas gift guide from products sourced from Covent Garden stores and offered its readers the chance to win the contents of the guide, receiving 13,000 entries.
The Time Out Covent Garden pop-up also became the focal point for a daily programme of one-off events, picked to showcase both the eclectic entertainment on offer in Covent Garden and Time Out’s broad cultural scope. In the spirit of pop-up, all events were announced via social media, with tickets available on a first come, first served basis. Highlights included a dance class with the Royal Ballet followed by cocktails with Corps de Ballet performers; Editor-at-Large Alexi Duggins cooking for readers in his pop-up Phil Collins-themed eatery, ‘You Can’t Curry Love’; a special ‘Comedy Shed’ on the Piazza with established stand-up talent performing intimate gigs to just four people at a time; author Lucy Inglis’s guided walks of Covent Garden’s chequered past; Count Arthur Strong in a live Q&A with Time Out CEO Tim Arthur in front of 200 people at the London Film Museum; and Time Out Dance editor Lyndsey Winship and Pineapple Studios choreographing a 150-strong flashmob to David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’. The flashmob also kicked off a 500-person silent disco in the middle of the Piazza on Friday night. DJ’d by Time Out Music Editor Jonny Ensall, the event counted down Time Out’s online feature, ‘The Top 100 Party Songs’, which launched on the site that day.
The whole event was a roaring Christmas success. CAPCO saw footfall levels remain level year on year in the crucial Christmas trading weeks while rival areas such as Oxford Street and Regent Street saw a 9% decline. Overall, the events saw more than 3,000 applications for tickets, 2,500 direct interactions socially and 57,537 views of the event content online. Commercially for Time Out the campaign was a hugely profitable success utilising the low cost pop up model to put the entire event on for under £13,000 ensuring a net profit of ten times that.