Create a Unique Branded Experience with a Pop Up Instagram Museum by Hurricane Productions

Instagrammable experiences are all the rage right now. In the last year alone, made for Instagram exhibits like the Museum of Ice Cream, The Color Factory, and the Museum of Selfies have launched in cities around the world.

With more than 110 million Instagram users in the U.S. alone, it's no surprise that there's been a surge in "Instagrammable events" – unique, ephemeral, pop up Instagram experiences where art and technology merge. But what are they, and how do you make one happen? Here's what you need to know about this growing – and highly effective – branding strategy.

What are Instagram museums?

scarlet mansion ball pit room

Pop up Instagram museums aren't museums in the traditional sense. They're temporary exhibits, usually constructed in a multi-purpose event space, that provide a cool experience with amazing photo opportunities for attendees. For the organizations that host these Instagrammable events, there's huge potential for increased brand awareness and exposure on social media.

The concept of a temporary art exhibit isn't necessarily new. Established galleries have always had limited-run artist exhibits, and the first true pop up exhibitions appeared in New York City in the late 2000s. These events are designed to create a sense of exclusivity and urgency; they encourage people to come visit while it's there, because after the exhibit's short run, they won't get the chance to see it again – at least not in its current form.

However, the difference between regular pop up events and Instagrammable pop ups is that the latter is specifically designed to be shared on social media. Every detail of a pop-up Instagram museum is created to be photographed, from the room layout to the color scheme to the lighting. Attendees can then snap and share their selfie experiences using the event's branded hashtag.

What's the point of a pop up Instagram event, anyway?

If you've ever heard the phrase, "do it for the 'gram," then you might understand the draw of an Instagrammable event. As The Daily Beast puts it, these exhibits "promise an experience you can share online, which is increasingly the only experience that matters." No matter what your feelings about modern social media culture, there's no denying that Instagram-worthy backdrops combined with a catchy hashtag can produce a whole lot of shareable user generated content for a brand.

If you're not familiar with the concept of user generated content (UGC), think about how often you see a brand share photos, tagged posts, and positive feedback from real-life satisfied customers. These posts have become a mainstay of branded social media content, as they provide authentic "social proof" of a brand's popularity and performance. A few good reasons to pay attention to UGC, according to AdWeek:

  • People want to feel a "real human connection" to your brand before buying from you, and UGC accomplishes that by highlighting actual customers.
  • Customers who share good experiences with your brand often encourage referrals from their network, which helps you expand your customer base.
  • It cheaply and effectively boosts your brand's credibility.
  • It gives you tons of unique content to use in future ad campaigns.
  • It enhances your brand experience.

It often takes time and effort to curate UGC organically, but by hosting an entire event dedicated to Instagramming, you'll get a wealth of photos in just a few hours, all branded with your unique hashtag and shared with your attendees' followers.

Pop up Instagram museum success story: Scarlet Mansion at Rutgers University

scarlet mansion gobo light design

Hurricane Productions recently had the opportunity to help Rutgers University create a pop up museum called Scarlet Mansion, in honor of the school's official color (red) and its Scarlet Knight mascot. RU wanted to give its students a cool place to take Instagrams, and they enlisted Hurricane to make it happen.

Hosted by the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA), Scarlet Mansion was open for a single weekend at The Rutgers Club house on College Avenue. Each of the five rooms was decked out in red and offered different themed experiences for attendees.

"There was a ball pit room, a 'senses room' with walls that you could touch, a light up dance floor, a snack room with strawberries hanging from the ceiling, and a 'secret garden' room, which made students feel like they were in a garden," explained Hurricane's general manager, Chelsea Rutkowski.

To bring RUPA's Scarlet Mansion room ideas to life, Hurricane provided an LED dance floor, lighting, and DJ services. We also designed a custom Scarlet Mansion gobo to project on the walls. By the end of the weekend, there were 115 posts associated with the hashtag #ScarletMansion.

How do I create an Instagrammable event?

Whether you're trying to raise awareness for a cause, promote your business, or create a fun "selfie factory" at a conference or event, an Instagram museum can be a great way to generate a lot of brand engagement in a short period of time.

It's important to find an event venue that's relatively customizable. Look for somewhere with a lot of open space and blank walls that will allow you to use projection technology and lighting to truly transform the area. You'll also want to come up with unique interactive room concepts, like Scarlet Mansion's ball pit room and senses room. A cool backdrop and atmosphere is essential, but your attendees will also want something fun to do besides take photos!

Finally, come up with a unique event hashtag that suits your brand. Promote it on social media ahead of time so people know when and where your event is – and be sure to let them know they'll get an opportunity to snap selfies they can't take anywhere else.

With the right resources and a great partner to help you execute your ideas, the only limit to your pop up Instagram exhibit is your imagination.

Interested in creating your own pop up Instagram event? Get in touch with Hurricane Productions and let's chat about your vision.

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Tell us a little about your vision for your event and we'll help you make it happen.

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