SDCC Pop Up Shop | SEGA of America


SEGA of America needed to some help creating a pop up arcade for SDCC. Anyone that was around in the 90’s remembers the intro jingle “SEGGG-AA”. The developers prelude to Sonic the Hedgehog, the closest video game character ever to compete with that overall wearing, mustached plumber, Mario. To this day, SEGA is still running circles around the competition. So, when they asked for a Pop Up Shop during San Diego Comic-Con, we had to deliver and deliver big!

The Project

From paper to production, we came up with an experiential event concept, scouted the perfect location, and executed a complete storefront transformation. Sonic would be proud. Within 2 days we zipped around transforming an empty retail store into a fully functional, booming pop up arcade. Over the 5-day SDCC stretch, over 53,000 people experienced the SEGA Pop-up Arcade.

Scouting The SDCC Location

With a multi-year waiting list, Comic Con trade show floor space is almost impossible to obtain but with newly launched games across all multiple platforms, including Sony Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PSP and more, SEGA needed to have a presence. So we proposed the idea of a “Pop Up Shop” style Arcade, located within the busy Gaslamp Quarter, just a short walk to the San Diego Convention Center floor.

The Timeline

With thousands of obsessed comic book and video game crazed fans spilling out into the streets it was too an idea good to pass-up. But here’s the deal…we only had FOUR WEEKS! 1 month to scout the location, develop a design that would sell, coordinate with countless vendors, build out the space and iron out any “speed bumps” that may arise! Oh yeah, did we mention we had a ton of trade show planning and exhibits to build at the actual show too?

The SDCC Pop Up Arcade

We flew out to San Diego early in an effort to find the perfect location and convinced the venue to give us the pop up store for a week. Excited with the progress, we immediately kicked off design and layout for each level and section of the pop up Arcade for SDCC.

First, we transformed the exterior of the store with proper branding including a huge hero sign, vinyl adhesives, and props. In an effort to boost attendance coming from the SDCC halls, a street team was sent charging throughout the downtown area and posted outside the store to spread the word about the event.

Upon entering the space, visitors were immediately immersed with sights and sounds from the latest SEGA titles. The ground level also featured a large greeting counter where limited-edition t-shirts were being screen printed and were available for purchase. This was strategically placed to tempt fans upon entry and exit.

The second level housed a sleek lounge with wall mounted custom arcade-style props including an oversized arcade-style joystick and those unmistakable gold rings Sonic is so obsessed with collecting.

The lounge type atmosphere was complemented by a floor to ceiling branded DJ booth delivering the appropriate melodic ambiance needed to overtake the noise of multiple video game consoles.

For the main purpose of the SDCC experiential event itself – over 30 playable video gaming stations for demoing the plethora of newly added Sega titles. Each demo station was extensively branded with graphics and scenic props bringing to life, key elements of the game.

The Results

Success? We’d say so… The line to get into the SDCC custom pop up shop stretched all the way down the block as we reached capacity consistently throughout the show. It was on the first day that we then decided the SEGA Arcade should stay open late to capture stragglers, before and after the trade show doors closed.

Our Thoughts

No pun intended, we really ran wild with this project. An opportunity to work with a gaming giant, really – really explore the bounds of experiential creativity, utilize a number of our services and just plain get outside the convention center doors was a bonus. We regularly have a large presence at SDCC but spilling it out into the streets was a liberating experience. It was something different. Something fun, Something educational and were positive we weren’t the only ones that felt that way.

Thinking Of Executing a Pop Up Shop of Your Own?

Reach out and we’ll be happy to brainstorm some ideas!

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