Spotted! Even studying can be Instagram-worthy » Media in Canada

Spotted! Even studying can be Instagram-worthy

The Math Guru created a pop-up lounge (with lattes and all) to make studying more appealing to teens.
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Spring and summer are the times of year when pop-ups emerge in Toronto. From high-end ice cream to innovative cafes, plenty of CPG and food brands use pop-ups as a novel way of drawing in new customers. One trendy new pop-up space in Midtown Toronto fits the profile with its comfy couches, pastel tones, vintage decor and an Instagram-worthy setup.

But X∆M (a play on “Exam”), located on Toronto’s busy Yonge Street, isn’t selling coffee. Or ice cream. Or packaged products. The space is a pop-up study lounge, which is an awareness play by local math tutoring service The Math Guru.

The Math Guru was founded in 2010 by former tutor Vanessa Vakharia, who aimed to not only improve high school students’ math skills, but also help raise their self-esteem and increase their love of learning. While The Math Guru’s offices already cultivate a relaxed, boutique vibe, Vakharia created a pop-up lounge that looks like it’s straight out of a lifestyle blog. She hopes the new space will attract more clients (The Math Guru mainly targets teens) while also communicating the company’s core values.

Aside from the comfy couches and the pastel desks, the lounge is decorated with quirky art with phrases like “Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day.” There are also earplugs, calculators, pens and pencils. Oh, and there are even lattes.

“[It's] a noticeable departure from the institutional, industrial feel of educational learning,” said Vakharia. Students pay a $10 fee for the day, and The Math Guru clients get in for free.

The space, which popped up last week, will run for two months, aligning with year-end exams.

Vakharia told MiC the activation was created without the help of an experiential, media or PR agency. She did engage in paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and the lounge has generated coverage from the likes of Toronto Life and CBC.