Groceries. Twitter. Fashion models. What do these three things have in common? Not really much of anything, but that didn't stop retail giant Target from pulling all three together for an oddly funny live broadcast
in late January, called the Tweet-to-Runway fashion show.
"We know people often share their everyday routines and experiences on Twitter, and those Tweets were the foundation of Tweet-to-Runway," says Target spokeswoman Jamie Bastian.
The show inspired a wave of tweets, grabbed thousands of Facebook "likes," and inspired quite a few blog posts, including this one from Saya Weissman at Digiday, who remarked on the show's unusual tone.
"This live Twitter runway show actually poked fun at the ridiculousness of modeling and catwalks and just made everything, especially people's tweets, seem pretty silly," Weissman wrote.
A search for the #EverydayShow hashtag reveals dozens of tweets about the show, even days after it took place. Many of Target's tweets about the show received 100 or more retweets. The brand's single Facebook post about the show garnered more than 3,700 "likes," along with comments such as, "Actually found it oddly compelling," and, "That might be the weirdest thing I've seen all day."
Adding the Twitter component
The Tweet-to-Runway show was part of Target's larger "Everyday Collection" campaign, which the company developed with advertising agency Mono. The idea of the entire campaign is to marry the glamour of couture fashion with the mundane task of grocery shopping. It took the retail chain about a year to pull the entire campaign together, Bastian says.
The real-time Tweet-to-Runway show was the team's way of getting people involved in the campaign, she says.
"It was a great opportunity to interact with our guests via Twitter to tell their stories of how they bring these everyday products to life," Bastian says.
At the Five Cool Things blog, blogger Reuben Halper compared the campaign to other real-time video response campaigns, such as Old Spice's.
Target promoted the Jan. 24 show through a few paid channels, but largely through tweeting about it, Bastian says. Starting Jan. 22 and going through the actual live webcast of the show, Target sent dozens of tweets about it, all with the hashtag #EverydayShow. Some of those tweets included photos of models getting ready for the big show.
Target chose the hashtag it did "because our goal was to elevate the everyday," Bastian says.
The big day
The show went live at 1 p.m. Eastern time and went for about two hours, resulting in models' reading nearly 200 tweets, all of which were made into separate YouTube videos. In a behind-the-scenes video about the show, Target PR Manager Josh Carter said each person who got a video response received a retweeted link to the video with his or her tweet for easy sharing.
As for the tone of the show itself, which featured straight-faced models reading out punctuation marks along with the tweets—ellipses were "dot, dot, dot" and the "<" symbol was "less than"—Bastian says the idea was to be "unexpected and tongue-in-cheek."
"It's really hard not to laugh while you're reading them," an unnamed model said in the behind-the-scenes video.
A blogger at Juice Digital observed that the motivation behind the show had to be something more than just making groceries look glamorous.
"It's hard to believe that this idea is simply a case of glamming up potato wedges and not a cleverly though out, 'laugh at ourselves' campaign," the blogger wrote.
Bastian says Target doesn't have any participation numbers to offer at the moment, but the response to the show has been largely positive.
The highlights video from the runway show has amassed about 6,300 views on YouTube, while many of the individual videos of specific tweets have racked up anywhere from a few hundred to more than 1,000 views.
Even though people found the show to be an odd one, Bastian says Target's No. 1 goal was to reinforce its commitment to it slogan: "Expect more. Pay less."
"Ultimately, our goal with The Everyday Collection campaign is to increase our guests' association of groceries and essentials at Target and reinforce great value," she says.
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.