Surely, Target has always taken pride in its innovative marketing campaigns. From quirky television spots to social media interactions, the retail giant rolls out something new and creative for each and every season.
This fall is no exception. A couple of weeks ago, Target released this 30-second free fall appropriately entitled, “Falling for Fall,” in which a half dozen 20-somethings are fittingly dressed for the season before landing safely outdoors amidst the crisp fall foliage.
Shortly thereafter, Target launched a crafty extension of the fall campaign, a three-part short film series dubbed, “Falling for You,” directed by Emmy-winning “Mad Men” director Phil Abraham and featuring Kristen Bell (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), Nia Long (“Fresh Prince of Bel-air”) and Zachary Abel. The series culminated Wednesday night during a live streaming of the red carpet Target Fall Style Event in New York.
This isn’t the first time a major brand has tapped into Hollywood’s array of talent for an award-winning director or esteemed movie star, nor is this the first shoppable video, but Target truly flexed its creative muscle with this project. The films take traditional product placement to the next level.
Falling for shoppable films
Typically I’d leave anything fashion related for my trend-conscious colleague, but I couldn’t pass this up.
Not too long ago Gucci pioneered the next generation of online marketing with its shoppable ad. Everything in the ads, including the very attire and accessories worn by the models, is for sale with a simple scroll bar on the right hand side. One or two clicks later and walla, you’ve purchased a $3,700 purse.
Target took that innovative shopping experience a step further with its “Falling for You” series. The four-minute films feature more than 100 products from Target’s fall line—from fall fashion to home products—that viewers (or consumers) could “Like” through a scroll tab on the right side of the video player and purchase in real time without interrupting the video.
Though the items are available for immediate purchase, whatever items viewers “Like” will be stored conveniently under a “View my Favorites” tab, just in case you’re eager to see how the story ends. Below the video, viewers are treated to a visually appealing shareable-shopping experience. You can scroll through an array of products and make a purchase or share via Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
According to Target’s abullseyeview.com blog, “Viewers can, for the first time ever, shop and share products seen in each episode without interrupting the film.”
The long and short of it
The plot is comprised of two flirtatious target marketing employees (Bell and Abel) competing with each other to pitch ideas for the budget retailer’s fall fashion campaign to a target marketing executive (Long)—yes, a marketing campaign about developing a marketing campaign. As it turned out, Bell and Abel knew each other from childhood, rekindle those memories and eventually fall in love. How cute?
The idea is simply marketing brilliance, turning a short romantic comedy (a chick flick, really) into a captivating, synchronized and unique shopping experience. The film allows consumers to see actual products in real-life scenarios, all the while entrenching them in a quick love story.
Regardless if you were prompted to purchase something or not (I mean, I’d rock Abel’s threads any day), you were likely hooked—you fell for it. You couldn’t possibly watch one episode without returning to watch parts two and three, increasing the likelihood of a purchase, but more importantly, brand awareness.
Can this type of branded entertainment be the future of online marketing? With DVR and Netflix, who really pays attention to commercials nowadays? Consumers are engaged with products and brands more than ever through online marketing and social media channels.
Branded content is not as blatant as some product placement or traditional television ads, and in the case of Target’s Falling for You, it’s far more welcoming and personable. There’s certainly a risk of rolling out an ad with an insistent feel to it. But Target’s efforts instead gave us a peak at how Target can relate to our everyday lives.
Heading in this direction?
Levi Jeans, jean brand Only and Barneys are three more brands, among others, that have given this marketing approach a try. Amidst all these digital marketing techniques, Target’s balance of content, video and e-commerce could spark even more.
According to an infographic from global communications company M Booth and analytics company Simply Measured, videos are shared 12-times more than links and text posts.
Photos garner twice as many shares. Instagram and Pinterest have emerged on similar pedestals to that of Facebook and Twitter, while video sharing platforms are jockeying for position in the race to become the Instagram of video.
Certainly this heavy lean toward everything visual has already begun to change how brands position themselves. Brands are testing the proposed “Want” button on Facebook so fans can purchase items straight from an image. Companies from all over the world are utilizing Pinterest.
Brands are continuously testing different means of engaging with fans and consumers, and Target’s branded content video is a step in a new direction. Imagine scanning your Facebook homepage and not only coming across a shoppable video from your favorite clothing brand, but a series of short films that you can immerse yourself in?
When it comes to marketing, there’s nothing Target cannot do. It totaled $68.5 billion in revenue last year, and has 1,772 stores nationwide. While a small business may be unable to fund a red-carpet event in New York City, much can be learned from Target’s integrated marketing tactics.
Interacting with an audience and capturing its attention can help foster long term and loyal customers. By doling out the videos in short installments, Target customers were more apt to return to Target’s web site and watch the subsequent episodes as well as the final live event. The idea was that customers would not only fall for Target’s products, but the story being told as well.
Courtesy of the New York Times
Target’s shoppable video campaign is a shining example of how brands can capture their customers’ interest and, as a result, promote their brand.
Should we expect more marketing ploys similar to that of Target’s “Falling for You” campaign, both on the small and large scale?