Brands entertain with '90s-themed activations

Millennials are notoriously nostalgic, longing for simpler times associated with their childhood. This tendency has led to the revival of countless products, services, and content from that period, and even re-creations that better align with their values in modern times. Lately, brands have been flashing back to the ‘90s by reimagining retail environments and activations that pay tribute to this decade.


This past August, New Balance teamed up with Foot Locker and Nickelodeon to create an immersive pop-up in Los Angeles celebrating the ‘90s to promote its new X-90 Knit, a sneaker inspired by silhouettes from that decade. The aptly named space, “Rewind To The 90s,” enabled visitors to feel like they stepped foot in that decade. People could play in a Koosh ball pit, pose in a Nickelodeon Double Dare photo booth, and hang out in a throwback bedroom. Tapping into young consumers’ desire to insert themselves in pop culture, visitors could also transform themselves into ‘90s holograms wearing the new kicks and then view the image projected on a display screen.


This past May, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, AriZona Iced Tea hosted a pop-up in NYC inspired by its iconic design and ‘90s origin. The space was put together as a photo-worthy 99-cent store where people could shop the brand’s signature drinks as well as specialty branded merchandise. Catering to consumer interest for fashion celebrating foodie culture, the store sold apparel, including hoodies and sneakers paying homage to the brand’s aesthetic, as well as sporting goods, such as skateboards, soccer balls, and rafts. Additionally, shoppers could visit a speakeasy-style secret Green Tea garden to relax and get embroidery or other customization on their garments.


Automotive manufacturer Renault is making the showroom more appealing to Millennials by reimagining it as a ‘90s destination in order to promote its new Clio vehicle and pay tribute to the initial model created in this decade. The pop-up, which is traveling throughout the UK until September 9th, invites visitors to enjoy ‘90s staples including board games and toys like Tamagotchis, pogs, and Gameboys, as well as retro food, drinks, and music. This contrasts with a modern-day set-up featuring the new Clio car alongside a nail art station, a selfie wall, and unicorn décor. Both models of the car are on display as well, but are meant to blend into the atmospheres and showcase the evolution of technology and design.