So, before tonight, I’d never shot a gun. I’d definitely never shot a 22, a 9mm, a glock, and a revolver and then followed it up with a whisky chaser. Thanks to LivingSocial Aventures, I got to do just that. They even added some tasty food, a chartered bus, and some pretty exclusive VIP treatment wherever we went. It was equal parts excitement, adventure, entertainment, and education. AND… I could afford to swing it on my museum salary!
LivingSocial isn’t the only company getting wise to the concept of accessible exclusivity.
Seems like it all started with pop-ups. The concept of “pop-ups” was coined by trendwatching.com in 2003, part of the Transumer trend. Pop-up retailers gave us here today/gone tomorrow shopping spaces in an exclusive, unannounced way. They took consumers by surprise, garnered buzz and crowds, then faded into the ether. Though these spaces were tangible, they were also very temporary. For those who got to them in time, they provided incredible bragging rights. For those who didn’t, they took on the aura of an urban legend.
Then came pop-up dining, pop-up drive-ins, pop-up museums and galleries– even pop-up toilets!
Transumerism evolved. It began with a focus on business travellers and those on the go. Now many of us live “on the go” in our everyday lives. We are motivated by fluid experiences. We expect entertainment, discovery, flexibility, and– this is key– a good story.
Of course, sometimes a good story comes at a premium. We all have heard that we can be civilian space travellers- for Virgin’s $200K price tag. Similarly, the Cube is a 140m2 pop-up portable restaurant which can be transported by helicopter. The plan is to move it to different European cities every four to twelve weeks.
But what about the rest of us?
Enter companies like Ferrara’s Street Dinner in Italy and Charlie’s Burgers in Toronto. Both combine mystery and allure in semi-exclusive, intimate dining experiences for those looking for the transumer experience. A limited number of lucky attendees are provided a series of clues, online or through SMS, revealing customized directions to expose the evening’s events. The price tag on these? About $50-100 a head. Like LivingSocial Adventures, it’s accessible exclusivity.
How can museums and culturals apply the pop-up concept or appeal to the transumer in all of us?
Would your star curator bring take-out from her favorite local restaurant and spend the evening in the home of one lucky visitor? (Maybe the visitor with the most tweets about your institution that week, or the 3000th one in your door…)
Could you have a pop-up gallery or exhibit? Maybe somewhere for just a day– or a few hours– that could be found through a series of tags or a mobile app…
What about a “drink with the museum” night, where on-the-fly announcements are made via social networks and anyone who’s close by can join a museum educator (or an exhibit designer, a security guard, the director…) for a few drinks?
What would it mean for us to be that accessible in ways that are so exclusive?
Major sources cited this week:
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