How NOT to pop-up at TIFF


The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) returns this September. The annual event has grown to become one of the most popular celebrity stops on the film festival circuit, and is your yearly opportunity to catch a glimpse of some seriously famous faces.

Not only does the festival debut some 300 films each year, it reveals some of the best experiential marketing known to Toronto.

Festival Street (King Street West) and the surrounding area become a playground for brands who are trying new marketing strategies. While the opportunities are endless, there are a few festival flops to avoid.

If you want to launch a successful brand activation at TIFF, here are three tips on how NOT to pop-up.



Don’t just give out free samples

Handing out free product samples is a great way to attract a crowd however, if you’re simply handing them out and letting consumers walk away, you are missing an opportunity for greater engagement.

If you want your brand to be remembered long after the festival, take a page out of TIFF’s script and make sure that storytelling is the driving force behind your activation or promotion. Aim to create an experience that draws people in and allows them to interact with your product. The more time you get with your consumers, the more likely you are to form a memorable impression.



Don’t feel obligated to match the theme of movies/cinema

People just want to have fun and enjoy a cool experience. Do something that is uniquely you!

Your brand activation should put the focus on providing entertainment – full stop. No matter what your brand or product category is, you should tailor your pop-up to the types of people TIFF attracts. i.e. the movie-buff, the “star-gazer”, the entertainment-lover, the after-partier, etc.



Don’t wait too long to start planning

Pop-up spaces fill up fast so make sure to start planning your strategy several months in advance of TIFF – a.k.a. now! Since the festival runs for about two weeks, you will have a limited time of exposure so you want to make the most of it by establishing a solid plan ahead of time.


Want to make the most of your brand activation at TIFF or need help securing a pop-up space? Give us a shout at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..