Kiehl’s Seoul pop up exhibition uses digital engagement to share Christmas cheer

A three-day Kiehl’s Seoul pop-up store was unveiled on Saturday, drawing several of South Korea’s most famous KoLs and incorporating multiple digital touchpoints and VR. 

For the first time, Shinsegae Duty Free allowed a single brand to take over the entire centrecourt on the 10th floor of its Myeongdong department store, the hub of its downtown duty-free retail space. Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific created multiple installations around the golden mirror carousel in the centre of the floor, the highlight a real snowmobile where guests could don a virtual-reality headset and speed through the streets of downtown New York City. 

The pop-up store was opened by popular K-pop R&B star Eric Nam and Kiehl’s Travel Retail Asia Pacific GM Petrina Kho. 

Two of South Korea’s most famous KoLs were also on hand:  Risa Bae and Ha Neul, both of whom boast more than 1 million followers on Instagram and spent more than an hour posing for selfies with fans. 

The pop-up space was themed Make it Merrier with Kiehl’s and was designed to appeal to both children and adults. One of the installations allowed people to customise a children’s story book and – by scanning a QR code – download it in digital form. Others included QR-based interactions where visitors could answer questions to redeem free samples of Kiehl’s products. 

The pop up was topped off with a giant colourful animated 360-degree video wall on the balcony of the 11th floor, framing the centrecourt. Artwork for the pop up was created by Finnish graphic artist and illustrator Janine Rewell

Kiehl’s has built a reputation for sustainable practices and corporate social responsibility and this event reinforced that commitment. The company committed up to US$10,000 to the charity Room to Read, by donating $1 for every sale of 125ml Ultra Facial Cream Holiday Limited Edition between November 1 and December 31. The funds will be used to purchase books. 


Dr Geetha Murali, Room to Read’s CEO, told guests at the launch the cash would be sufficient to fund reading programs for 200 children in developing countries. 

“Room to Read’s mission is to create a world free of illiteracy and a safe place in schools for young girls to read and study.” The organisation’s internal research shows that 80 per cent of the children it has helped to date have graduated from school, compared with just 20 per cent on average in the countries they work in. 

Meanwhile, all the displays created for the pop up were made from sustainable wood and after they are disassembled this week, all the items will be donated to schools and charities for children to enjoy. 

Kho said the pop up was designed with the spirit of “giving and sharing”.  It follows a successful series of Kiehl’s Loves promotions in Bangkok, Hainan and Seoul earlier this year.

“Holiday is a joyous time of the year and Kiehl’s is delighted to push the boundaries of disruptive and engaging retail expressions with Shinsegae Duty Free through our immersive pop up,” she said.

Hong Seok Ho, merchandising division senior VP at Shinsegae Duty Free, said the partnership with Kiehl’s was part of the retailer’s mission to constantly deliver “unique and inspiring retail experiences” for customers.

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