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Target Pins Its Hopes On Pinterest This Holiday Season

Jeff Jones, Target’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, explains why the content sharing service will play a major role in the brand’s "My Kind of Holiday" campaign, its most digitally focused advertising effort to date.

Everyone from designer and event planner David Stark to that elusive Elf on a Shelf character will be featured in Target’s "My Kind of Holiday" campaign, which is aimed at digitally connected, time-pressured moms.

David Stark

"It is the most digitally enabled campaign in our history," says Target executive vice president and chief marketing officer Jeff Jones. "What that means is we’ll still do broad reach—mass things like TV and weekly ads. But we think that we have an opportunity this year to just be more personal, more targeted, and more timely than we ever have, and social channels enable us to do that."

While Facebook and Twitter will play key roles in the campaign, Pinterest is the hub of the "My Kind of Holiday" effort.

Starting in mid-November, Pinterest will host the party planning resource Best.Party.Ever., curated by Stark. While he will create boards for the general public, Stark will also generate personalized boards for select Target REDCard members, providing them with ideas, how-to demonstrations, and product recommendations depending on what kind of party, event, or celebration they are organizing. It's an ambitious effort—according to Jones, Stark is slated to produce individualized boards for "in the neighborhood of 500 people."

Target will also post shoppable holiday catalog-style Pinterest boards; top-pinned Target items from Pinterest will be showcased in stores and on Target.com; and, just for kicks, an Elf on the Shelf-themed board will provide parents tips on creative places to stash those elves who show up just after Thanksgiving and hang around the house, keeping an eye on the kids so they can tell Santa Claus who has been naughty and who has been nice.

Target’s ties to Pinterest will be promoted in a TV spot titled "Inspiration."

So why the Pinterest push? "Last year at holiday time, we did a few things with Pinterest, but we didn’t do all we could," Jones says.

Still, Target's boards were a popular Pinterest destination. In fact, a study by Curalate that was commissioned by Social@Ogilvy revealed Target was the most shared brand on Pinterest last December.

Inspired by that revelation to do more with the content sharing service, Target worked with Pinterest last spring to pilot Rich Pins, a technology enabling pins enhanced with product information like price and availability. These Rich Pins were a hit, resulting in a 70% increase in visits to Target.com from Pinterest, according to Jones, who says that huge bump in traffic from Pinterest—as well as the aforementioned study—gave Target the confidence to partner more heavily with Pinterest this holiday season.

Target has ramped up its overall efforts to integrate commerce into the social space in 2013. Earlier this year, the brand worked with Facebook to develop Cartwheel, a personalized savings app. "We’re about six months in, but we now have over 2 million users," Jones reports, "and we expect by the end of this year that Cartwheel users will have created about $100 million in sales and saved over $7 million by using Cartwheel."

The brand will continue to experiment with various partners in the hopes of staying at the forefront of the modern-day shopping experience. "It’s very important to Target. If you just look at our 50-year heritage of innovation as a company, it’s in the DNA of Target," Jones says, "and as a marketer, I basically believe that we have to do the things that work as long as they do while at the same time figuring out what’s next."

[Images & Video courtesy of Target]

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