NEW YORK After getting plenty of attention for the London Olympics and the Queen's Jubilee last year, British Airways and VisitBritain hope to put the U.K. back in the spotlight with a a global initiative dubbed the Big British Invite. As part of the effort, the airline and national tourism agency built a pop-up in New York—housed in 15,000 square feet of space inside SoHo's 82 Mercer—showcasing the current and past cultures of England, Scotland, and Wales to encourage tourism across the pond. Held March 23 and 24, the experiential promotion was produced by ExtraExtra and backed by No. 10 Great Campaign.
“The concept of the event was to contextualize the two brands—British Airways and VisitBritain—into an event experience that afforded guests the opportunity to choose their own experience,” said ExtraExtra creative director Nicky Balestrieri. “Designed as a 'choose-your-own-adventure novel' in event form, guests started their journey by checking into a B.A.-stylized departures lounge, and were released into the experience in small groups on specified departures times. Each experience thereafter was an interactive representation of what is new and next in Great Britain.”
Entertainment within the makeshift city included fashion retailers, food and drink vendors, a British-inspired nail-painting station, and a silent disco rave where guests could wear headphones playing music by British DJs. Details like actors playing cab drivers, sculptures of Parliament and Big Ben made from candy, and a backdrops of the streets of London played throughout the venue, immersing visitors in a whimsical simulation of the U.K.