Creative branding: pop up Queen Meredith O’Shaughnessy airs her Dirty Laundry
It’s a Tuesday evening and we’ve just put the washing machine on a spin cycle. So far so normal. Half empty detergent bottles perch on the shelf and liqui-tabs are scattered across the table top. The pizza we ordered earlier arrives. We tuck in as we wait for our dirty laundry to come out spotless and sparkling.
‘What’s your dirty little secret?’, a playful voice asks, a sassy sparkle in her knowing eyes. This is Signorina Bubbles, our enigmatic host at Fitzrovia’s Dirty Laundry pop up laundrette. Our spin cycle is done. Twisting the tap on the Whirlpool machine, out pours a mouthwatering Campari cocktail, spun, not stirred. Giggling as Signorina Bubbles draws our dirtiest little secrets out of us (which one of us drinks her housemate’s wine when she’s away?), we create our own concoctions by mixing the contents of the detergent bottles, and shot the boozy jelly liqui-tabs.
For five nights in June pop up queen Meredith O’Shaughnessy opened the doors to her 1950s Italian-Americana-inspired launderette. Guests were treated not only to imaginative cocktails, but also to classic Italian pizza and arancini, delivered by outrageously flirtatious pizza boy Marco. They were encouraged to air their dirty laundry, even having it printed on to a t-shirt, and have photos taken in the Polaroid booth with Signorina ‘both sides are my good side’ Bubbles. They danced the night away to the feel-good music blaring from the Daz DJ booth.
Having begun her career working in the nightclub circuit across some of Europe’s most high profile venues, including Ushuaia, Chinawhite, and Bungalow 8, Meredith founded Ohlala Experiences in 2012. ‘I wanted to find a way to take what I loved about putting on public events, private parties and working with gorgeous brands and find a way to unite that in some way – to take the best parts of each and make them work together’. In her Dirty Laundry pop up Meredith did exactly that, creating an experience that was just as exciting for its guests as it was forward-thinking for its partners. Is this, we wonder, the future of creative branding?
‘The biggest challenge for a big brand is to stay human and to connect with people on a personal level’, Meredith tells us. ‘When you do something like put on a pop up, it makes consumers see you in a whole new way and it challenges people’s perceptions of the brand’. Ohlala has evidently found a niche, a way of cleverly creating events for brands to celebrate their innovation, but with the creativity and individuality of public pop ups.
As traditional brands begin breaking down barriers by recruiting London’s creative teams to reinvent their image, we have to wonder what takes priority – their marketing desires or the guests’ experience. Meredith assures us they’re one and the same: ‘the brand becomes integrated at the core of how we build the event – for Whirlpool this manifested in things like having the specially modified washing machine cocktail makers and our Whirlpool washing machine DJ deck. The goal is not to necessarily ‘showcase’ a brand but to partner with brands who resonate with our vision for the pop-up’.
Honestly? We would never have guessed that one of our best summer nights out would be thanks to a whites goods company. But that’s the whole point. Meredith is ever on the look out for inventive brands that are willing to push boundaries in order to change the way the public perceive their personality. Having left Dirty Laundry full of Campari swigged from detergent bottles we can only tell you to expect the unexpected: London’s party-goers are set to see traditional companies in a whole new light thanks to this new wave of creative branding.