Target’s new Instagrammable collaboration is a sweet deal

Discussion
Source: Museum of Ice Cream
May 29, 2018
Gabriela Baiter

Between Macy’s acquisition of the experiential retailer, STORY, and Westfield’s hiring of Tony-winning Broadway producer Scott Sanders, it seems that the future of a store may not be a store at all.

Last week, the retail industry added another example to this list with the announcement of Target’s historic collaboration with the Museum of Ice Cream, a viral interactive art installation that is sweeping the nation.

If you haven’t been to a Made-for-Instagram Museum or “Selfie factory” before, they are temporary activations founded by and designed for Millennials, complete with dozens of “photo-ops” that pay homage to a carefully curated theme. Aside from ice cream, other museums have focused on ColorsSelfiesFeelings and Candy to name just a few.

The Museum of Ice Cream’s newest concept, the “Pint Shop,” abandons the museum vibe and embraces the store. Opening June 6 in New York’s Meatpacking District, the shop reimagines the grocery store. Don’t worry though, unlike Amazon Go or Eataly, this hyper-sensory experience is only temporary, allowing visitors to explore life-size pint installations, browse aisles filled with the museum’s limited-edition ice cream flavors and even reserve a table for a one-of-kind tasting experience.

Photos: Target

So, what’s in it for Target? In addition to snagging exclusivity rights to The Pint Shop, Target is profiting off of the brand by creating a limited-edition kids’ apparel and accessories line as well as selling the brand’s ice creams in 300 of its stores all summer long. The Pint Shop gets Target’s distribution and merchandising expertise while the retailer gets the Museum of Ice Cream’s social prowess along with a percentage of sales.

“We want guests to experience a true sense of joy when they’re shopping at Target, and one way we do this is through partnerships we think they’ll love,” said Mark Tritton, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, Target. “Between our shared values of joy, creativity, focus on design and unique experiences, this partnership allows us to give guests a taste of Museum of Ice Cream’s signature aesthetic, right at their local Target store and on Target.com, this summer.”

With one Webby Award, 389K followers and hundreds of thousands of tickets under the Museum of Ice Cream’s belt, Target guarantees virality by joining forces with this cultural phenomena. There is, however, a caution. Just like sponsored ads in our social feeds, too many collaborations can quickly turn into spam.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are other authentic ways brands can leverage the Made-for-Instagram Museum trend? With “experiential retail” on the rise, what is the key to finding the balance between experience and commerce?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I see this as the icing on the cake of already great progress."
"This really isn’t just about being Instagrammable (although that helps) but about providing interesting out-of-the-home experiences."
"Target has build a brand platform that allows it to positively participate in pop culture trends with its customers."

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14 Comments on "Target’s new Instagrammable collaboration is a sweet deal"


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Charles Dimov
BrainTrust

Good move for Target, to jump on the Instagrammability trend. They are definitely focusing on the right thing — that being the customer experience. Don’t worry about the experience/commerce balancing act. Yes, it is important. But more important is getting customers to come into Target stores, and getting them to enjoy and rave about the experience to their friends. WOM marketing still works!

Another idea: Shoppers love telling their friends about their new brand-name purchases. So make the purchase a photo-op. Set up a Hollywood backdrop (with your brand all over it) and take a photo of the customer with their new purchase before they leave. Then they can share away.

Gabriela Baiter
BrainTrust

I hear you Charles. The one thing I’d caution retailers on is having the brand be too much of a focal point here. While in-store photo ops are great, asking people to take photos with their purchase in front of a branded back drop isn’t enough anymore. The Museum of Ice Cream takes this concept further by creating “Instagrammable” scenes that people naturally want to take photos of. By designing and positioning it as an experience vs. a photo booth area, they improve the experience overall while driving social shares.

Chris Petersen, PhD.
BrainTrust

Innovation comes in all forms and dimensions. Kudos to Target for trying something entirely different with The Pint Shop. It ties in with Target’s brand, is very customer-centric and it involves collaboration with others who bring something to the table. This is exactly the kind of stuff that online can’t do. Moreover, it should also be highly measurable in terms of traffic, conversion and sales.

Max Goldberg
Guest

The line between experience and commerce should be blurred. Retail is an experience. If that experience is meaningful, it can result in commerce. Target realizes this, and that Millennials communicate differently than Boomers, and is smart to see where this collaboration goes.

Gabriela Baiter
BrainTrust

Totally agree Max. Given Target’s similar brand values, this partnership makes so much sense. By leading with the experience, people will naturally want to buy and take a piece of it home with them.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

This builds upon what we’ve been discussing the last few months — leveraging partnerships for store-within-a-store or experience-based add-ons to make the shopping journey more entertaining and pleasant. This isn’t new for Target but building upon the strategy in the food category is interesting for sure. If they can build upon this concept, it could go a long way to drawing more consumers to their grocery offerings

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This is another great example of Target making a real effort to create experiences in-store. The company’s kids collections have done very well, thanks in large part to labels like Cat & Jack and Pillowfort. I see this as the icing on the cake of already great progress.

Nikki Baird
BrainTrust

Unboxing. I think providing unboxing opportunities at home is another way to extend the Instagrammable effect beyond the installation or store. Retailers and brands both should pay attention to opportunities for consumers to “reveal” their purchases in their own home’s setting, so that whether you went into the shop or ordered it online, you can share not just the experience but the product experience as well.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Leveraging ice cream and Instagram, brilliant! Who doesn’t love ice cream? While we in retail know the trends, imagine Target shoppers in hundreds of towns across the nation stumbling upon ice cream! No instructions necessary.

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

This really isn’t just about being Instagrammable (although that helps) but about providing interesting out-of-the-home experiences. It’s long been the case that the best experiences make us want to take a little bit of that home to keep — and to keep tapping into that great feeling however we can. That might be by drinking that certain brand of wine that you always have on holiday or, in this case, buying the ice cream that reminds you of that really fun experience you had. That’s the sweet spot that retail is tapping into now — offering an experience and a commerce channel for taking that away with you.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
This is a brilliant partnership for Target to boost the experiential notes in their food department — an area that they’ve been focusing on improving. What better way to do this than with ice cream — a truly emotional response in the making! A great tie in with their brand that associates a positive emotional experience of savoring great ice cream. That this is highly Instagrammable is an added bonus. The key to these experiences are making them memorable and emotionally driven. Target succeeds on both counts with Museum of Ice Cream. Other areas to drive shareable engagement could come from the packaging of the product itself — something tech products have mastered, just think of all the “unboxing” videos you’ve seen of new iPhones. Another idea could be to leverage staged areas in the store that encourage shoppers to take photos with a product in an exciting environment. I’ve seen examples of this in wine shops where there is a backdrop of a vineyard provided so the shopper can take a photo holding their… Read more »
Rebecca Fitts
Guest

Collaborations have to make sense first and foremost and this one certainly does! Finding the balance is based on the brand — it’s what makes creating a great customer experience so hard. There aren’t any cookie cutter answers. A guide shop is much more heavy on experience (most of the time), but it isn’t the right fit for every retailer.

Carlos Arambula
BrainTrust

Target has build a brand platform that allows it to positively participate in pop culture trends with its customers. Target does not need to find balance, it simple needs to continue to integrate, or blur the lines, between experience and commerce.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

Target did what they like to do — team with a well known national celeb for a design, then release private label lines connected with that celeb. Let’s see … all the way back to Graves teapots in the 1990s and other kitchen items.

So by doing what they’ve done for over 20 years we get this line: “the future of a store may not be a store at all”… yet Target is doing a very store-like thing … making merchandise.

Good for Target — glad they’ve got this collaboration going. Those of us in retailing must never forget our job: selling things to people. The store is the best way to do that when complemented with online selling.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I see this as the icing on the cake of already great progress."
"This really isn’t just about being Instagrammable (although that helps) but about providing interesting out-of-the-home experiences."
"Target has build a brand platform that allows it to positively participate in pop culture trends with its customers."

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