For a growing number of Americans, the notion of a life well lived has in large part become synonymous with a life lived online. Mintel’s Living Online–U.S., July 2012 tells us that more than eight in 10 surveyed have Internet service and that the amount of time Americans spend online each week has increased by more than two hours since 2005. Moreover, 60% surveyed visit transactional websites for shopping. Given this influx of online activity, it should come as no surprise that many retailers, manufacturers, and even non-profit organizations now consider it their obligation to find new and creative ways to market their products and services online.

Most recently, creativity has translated to “sprucing up” the online shopping experience by introducing elements of interaction–through videos, social networking, charitable contributions, and the like. Mintel’s Inspire observation Video Storefront discusses the way in which online music videos have been used as an impetus to purchasing featured stars’ clothing, and its blog “Incentive to Dream” shows how a Brazilian non-profit has used interactive web advertising to raise money on behalf of children living in one of the country’s poorest neighborhoods. Target stores’ newest webisodes will represent the newest commercial spin on interactive online shopping, attempting to use internet videos to spark interest in the retailers’ newest merchandise offerings as well as an upcoming live event.

On October 2nd, visitors to Target’s website were be able to watch the first of three episodes of its video short entitled Falling for You, about fictional Target employees pitching competing ideas for a Fall fashion campaign. Bringing reality into the mix, each four-minute webisode–staring actors Kristin Bell (Showtime’s House of Lies), Zachary Burr Abel (ABC Family’s Make It or Break It), and Nia Long (Mooz-lum) –will feature Target product offerings available for purchase throughout October 2012. The products–all 110 of them–run the gamut from Target clothing to household and bath goods, to furniture and accent pieces, and will be available for immediate purchase online by mouse clicking your way through a featured product sidebar. It’s also Target’s hope that after watching the first webisode of Falling for You –and the two that follow on Oct. 4 and Oct. 9–viewers will be inclined to tune in online again on Oct. 10 for a live streaming of the retailer’s fall fashion campaign launch in New York City.

Will Target’s spin on interactive online shopping be worth it?

Falling for You‘s viewership and strength of storyline are still up in the air. Yet, the premise of Target’s promotion may prove to resonate most among younger consumers that form a key demographic in the retail space. Mintel’s Marketing to Millennials–U.S., August 2012 shows, for example, that 63% of Millennials (aged 18-35 in 2012) surveyed say that the Internet is their most frequently used form of entertainment, compared to 48% of respondents overall. At 47%, Millennials are also 18 percentage points more likely than the average respondent to say they enjoy watching online videos. It is also likely that–in addition to the format of the videos–the cast chosen to star in them will resonate with members of this generation.

Keeping this in mind, the retailer appears to have developed a campaign that is not only most likely to reach the youngest consumers, but also encourage more of them to shop in the way that their tech-dependent preferences would seem to indicate they’d prefer anyway. The true sales test is therefore likely to lie in whether campaign awareness was high enough to drive traffic to Target’s website for the webisode’s launch in the first place, and whether the first four minutes of Falling for You are deemed worthy of an ongoing audience.

Personal Care Market

Our personal care team uses that in-depth knowledge to put Mintel’s consumer research in category context to show you the coming trends and tell you what they mean.

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