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Welcome to the “Curiosity Rooms”, where Google has chosen to promote its latest smartphone Pixel 3A. 55 Regent Street at London’s Piccadilly Circus has a basement bursting with music and dining experiences, a candy-pink faux launderette, a Voguephoto shoot, intriguing installations and Instagram-friendly moments at every point, not to mention a slide in place of an escalator:

This year’s activation is by no means minimalist – 12 windows, three floors and a packed programme of free talks, workshops, gigs and special events across five weeks, with Google turning Piccadilly Circus into “Pixeldilly Circus”.

The seed to scale up was sown after last year’s activation (in Selfridges for two nights, delivered by Jack Morton Worldwide), when Google made the decision to take an element of the experience to Stylist Live, where the potential for something longer-term and larger-scale was evident.

As current trends have it, Kirstyn Stark, head of UK hardware brand marketing at Google and lead on the project, says: “We wanted to create a space where people can come and explore, and be curious in a playful way. It ties in perfectly with our overall campaign, as Google and Pixel 3 are all about discovery and making every day extraordinary.

“This year, we felt this should be open for a longer time to let people come in and play with all the tech features on offer. It is a test in terms of a longer-term activation, but we like to experiment at Google. Our US Hardware Store has pop-ups with music events, and so with this activation we liked the idea of having a physical space to get people involved.”

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Nine publishers, from Hypebeast to Condé Nast, have partnered Google to deliver a packed programme of talks, workshops and experiences and to ensure a steady flow of the target audience over the five-week residency. “We are targeting consumers who are naturally curious and willing to innovate, as we are a challenger brand when it comes to this product,” Stark explains. “So we hope to engage the younger tech-savvy and tech-positive audience who are in tune with culture, fashion and experiences.”

Rather than focus on sales, success will be measured in footfall, social reach and consideration. “This is a brand experience first and foremost, so we aren’t expecting to transact. This is about consideration,” Stark adds. “We need get the product into people’s hands. We have a Piccadilly takeover, fly posters, plus social and digital, so this is a fully integrated campaign for Google. And, of course, the incredible media value from the 12 windows stretching out across Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus.”

The space will be open until mid-December 2018.

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