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Magnum Force

Technology to sell ice creams? Why not, and while you’re at it, make the confection bespoke

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Pop-ups across Europe have excelled at showing other more permanent players how to innovate and make the most of small spaces. The latest to do so in London is the Magnum “Pleasure Store.”

This temporary shop is open until Sept. 10, and it takes the core product, a chocolate-covered ice cream bar on a stick, and runs with it. As such, it does what others such as Marmite (a yeast-based spread popular in this neck of the woods), and what, in the U.S., wellington boot brand Hunter has done in the past – take a single product and make an event of it.  "Technology to sell ice creams? Why not and while you're at it, make the confection bespoke."

In Magnum’s case, it has had a few years to get things right, opening and closing temporary stores in London and elsewhere since at least 2013. This time around, the store’s shtick is a collaboration with Jeremy Scott, creative director at Italian fashion house Moschino, and the designer’s tote bags include a range of bright colors with display ice creams to match.

The real point about the store, however, are two Instagram boxes: Following a purchase in which the shopper personalizes a Magnum with edible beads and accessories, the one-off confection can be placed inside a freestanding, open-sided box whose insides have been patterned to provide a background for sharable shots. Enthusiasts are then encouraged to add the hashtag #magnumldn to engage in the pop-up’s social media conversation.

Facile? Well, maybe, but when I looked last week, 13,000 people had done this, meaning a lot of ice cream sold and a huge amount of customer product endorsement. This really is about using design and imagination to use the Internet to your own advantage. Don’t be scared of tech – see what you can do with it that others aren’t.

John Ryan is a journalist covering the retail sector, a role he has fulfilled for more than a decade. As well as being the European Editor of VMSD magazine, he writes for a broad range of publications in the U.K., the U.S. and Germany with a focus on in-store marketing, display and layout, as well as the business of store architecture and design. In a previous life, he was a buyer for C&A, based in London and then Düsseldorf, Germany. He lives and works in London.  

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