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[9 comments]

Target Goes All Hollywood to Sell Stuff

October 5, 2012

You would think that a film written and directed by "Madmen" alums and starring actress Kristen Bell ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall") would have a better than average chance of being good, wouldn't you?

You might, unless you were watching the so-called "shoppable" film on Target.com and realizing that there is no way you are going to order any of the products shown, at least in part, because of the "lameness" (term borrowed from resident teenager) of the film.

Okay, I'm being harsh, but I couldn't help but thinking while watching the first of three four-minute "Target Style Short Film" episodes that whatever the chain paid for the talent on the project, it didn't appear to be particularly well spent.

"The way we gage success here is the differentiation of the Target brand," Shawn Gensch, Target's senior vice president of marketing, told Bloomberg News. "This is one component of a very robust messaging calendar and at a very key season for retail."

To be fair, not all agree with my negative review of the film and, for all I know, the products being promoted could be flying off Target.com's warehouse shelves.

"It lines up pretty well with Target's desire to be forward thinking," Leon Nicholas, an analyst at Kantar Retail, told Bloomberg. "Target has the credibility to try this."

FINANCIALS:     [NYSE:TGT] [ ]

Discussion Questions:

What is your assessment of "shoppable videos" as a marketing tool? What do you think of Target's execution with the "Falling For You" film?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

What is your review of Target's "Falling For You" shoppable film?

Comments:

There's already too much bad video in the world.

Save the pixels for a better cause.

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Ryan Mathews, Founder, ceo, Black Monk Consulting

Poor marketing. This is a great example of what not to do, when trying to position your company, your brand, and to increase exposure on the Internet. Yes, this is a cutting edge approach to marketing exposure for Target, but its value is clearly questionable. Most people, including the author, contend that these marketing monies would be better spent elsewhere, to better define Target's pricing, promotions, products, and brand image.

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Kai Clarke, CEO, American Retail Consultants

Engaging the consumer via "native online video" is just in its infancy. This type of promotional platform goes back to industrial films of 50 years ago. The advantage today lies in the fact that retailers can take it viral via today's internet.

Properly targeted to the right segment, the tool will build engagement. Without getting the message to the right segment, Target will find themselves kissing a lot of toads (like me, the mission shopper), before they get the engagement they are seeking.

My guess is that Target will "target" the message, and then engage their segment to the point that they'll take it viral for them. Target has incredible Brand Loyalty.

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Roger Saunders, Managing Director, Prosper Business Development

There are many reasons consumers still shop inside stores. A large part of all of the reasons is information. Retailers are no longer willing to consider high-priced associates and the training they will need to be effective in the direct to consumer relationships they need from them. Infomercials strategically positioned throughout the store are always present to help the customer and pleasingly informative to the consumer 100% of the time. In the eyes of executive management this is a winning solution that will see many new investment dollars as technology increases and time goes by.

There is only one question open to the consumer to report. When will technology be able to address uniquely specific areas of consumer concern? Since retailers have uniformly reduced or eliminated training, there now exists a large reduction in the need and or willingness to shop in stores. Reports demonstrating customer dissatisfaction with the difficulties in obtaining information in stores pertaining to specific concerns are present and closely held and largely overlooked by ownership. This clearly demonstrates a dependency on technology, which by any measurement is past the level of acceptable business risk.

The first lesson I learned in business is it takes money to make money. The first advice I got was to be sure about what you spend it on.

'gjarnoldjr'

The film may indeed be "lame" -- but the concept is not. Watch for more of these...and with enhanced social features (like gaming has now). This is the next wave of advertising poised to launch on true web-enabled television. Coming to your living room soon!

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Liz Crawford, VP, Strategy & Insights, Match Drive

The lines of social media and marketing have been merging for a while, so these "shoppable" videos are a natural extension of this. These video shorts contain pure product placement along with the ease of clicking and immediately purchasing what you see on the screen. I think this is an innovative concept and the execution is good, but I wonder what Target considers a successful campaign. This certainly paves the way for new methods of advertising via social media.

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Zel Bianco, President, founder and CEO, Interactive Edge

This is yet another example of creative agencies misleading their clients. The executive(s) that approve these ideas and their budgets should be held responsible and accountable for the results that these novelty projects are suppose to achieve. The agencies and their producers want to spend money to further their personal and agendas in hopes of winning a CLIO rather than bringing 'tough love' value to their clients.

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Adrian Weidmann, Principal, StoreStream Metrics, LLC

While this video may not be the best, the concept is! I have always been a fan of product positioning advertising as opposed to direct. People don't want to feel like they are being sold or marketed to.

Lee Kent, Let's meet share and succeed in Retail, YourRetailAuthority

I like it. The videos may not be great, but shoppable video is in its infancy. I'm sure Target will "test and learn" and the videos and their results will get better. Or, they'll take the learning and build on this concept with something a little different/better.

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Al McClain, CEO, Founder, RetailWire.com

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