Advertising pops up in all sorts of strange and unusual places these days. The problem for advertisers is that the public gets bored easily. We’ve seen most of it before: we want something new or different. Advertising’s become so commonplace and predictable that we’re rarely shocked or surprised any more. Sometimes though, something pops up, literally, which surprises and excites you: something so random and unexpected that you just have to stop and take a look. It happened at London’s Victoria Station last week. What was it? Well, it was a pop-up installation, of a fashion: a full-sized, detailed recreation of the X-Men‘s living room, complete with a library a chess set and a couple of leather chesterfield sofas in the station concourse. Now, if that isn’t enough to make you stop in your tracks and rub your eyes, then there’s little hope for you. You really have become far too cynical.
So what was it all about? Well, obviously the answer is to sell something, and sell it did. The film X-Men First Class was released on DVD and Blue-ray at the end of October, and advertising firm Beatwax built the installation to celebrate the launch. This wasn’t any ordinary pop up installation though: it was certainly nothing like the type of pop up gazebo you can buy in the shops. This was the daddy of pop-ups – a 25 square metre exact replica of the 1960s living room in the X-mansion. The room set came complete with a fireplace, the chess set used in the films, a couple of antique chesterfield settees, a large 40-inch period-style HD TV playing the movie on Blue-ray and library shelving offering the new DVD titles through hidden QR codes.
Commuters were able to enter the lounge and interact with characters Mystique and Azazel as well as the film’s star Jason Flemyng. They could even take mind-control workshops with Marc Paul, who has been dubbed the ‘real-life Professor X’ if the mood took them. But the main attraction wasn’t the movie set or even the A-list star. For us, the real star was the pair on traditional leather chesterfield sofas.
The leather chesterfield sofas were the actual ones used in the movie and were mighty fine looking pieces too. Constructed in antique crimson leather, these deep-buttoned backed chesterfield settees stole the show. Business was brisk unsurprisingly: dozens of commuters flocked to the set for a look or a chat with the film’s star. The 64,000 dollar question though is did these commuters really want to interact with the set and the star, or did they just fancy a sit down on the Chesterfield sofas? We’ve all commuted at one time or another and we know how uncomfortable and unpleasant the experience can sometimes be. Seats are at a premium at the best of time: premium seats are even rarer. If you’re going to rest your derriere anywhere, then why not choose the ubiquitous and sumptuous chesterfield settee. Obviously we can’t speak for the commuters. We’ll never really know why they flocked to the attraction in such numbers, but if we were betting people, our money would be on the traditional chesterfield sofas as the main draw of the day.