Lilly for Target Launch – Brilliant or Bust?

By Posted in - Fashion & Marketing & Public Relations on May 1st, 2015

Unless you have been completely out of touch, you no doubt heard about the madness that the recent Lilly Pulitzer for Target launch created. Sadly, I found myself smack dab in the middle of the crazy. I am still recovering.

After a super busy week, my family decided to skip church and get caught up on the morning of Sunday, April 19. We were out of everything, so I planned to make an early grocery store and Target run for diapers, toilet paper and other essentials for the week ahead. My husband took the kids out to breakfast and I picked up a coffee and remember thinking how excited I was to be running these errands alone so I could have some peace and quiet. I knew the Lilly line for Target would be in stores starting that weekend, and I foolishly thought maybe I would pick up a cute bathing suit or dress for my daughter while I was there. What I saw when I drove up blew my mind…a huge line winding around the building waiting for the doors to open.

It got worse. Once they opened the doors people went crazy…running to the display, knocking each other over and grabbing as much as they could. The doors opened at 8:00 a.m. and the entire women’s collection was completely gone by 8:02 a.m. Some ladies were cheering and immediately on their phones trying to sell what items they had scored to friends and family. There were tween girls crying in front of the racks because there was nothing left. It was a sad site, folks. Even worse, ladies lined up like vultures outside the dressing room in hopes that something wouldn’t fit and get thrown back to the wolves.

I went on about my shopping just taking it all in. I ended up with a scarf and a jumpsuit for my daughter that someone had discarded in the cleaning products section after the mad dash. I wasn’t even sure I wanted them, but after what I had witnessed I felt like I won the lottery.

Since the launch, there has been a lot of discussion around whether or not it was a PR success or a fail. As a PR professional, I happen to agree with this article from the Bulldog Reporter that it was a little bit of both.

At a previous job, I worked on the Target account and have enormous respect for the brilliant work that comes out of their PR/Marketing department. They are a strategic machine. And since the same thing happened when they launched the Missoni line for Target back in 2011, I can’t believe they were blindsided by this response. After all, everyone is talking about Target, and there have even been social media sites created to buy and sell the Lilly items online. The “limited availability” drove the demand and the hype.

But at what cost? Does this affect how target loyalists feel about the brand? I don’t think so. Speaking for myself, I was not upset with Target for that spectacle…more than anything I was disheartened by people’s behavior. What do you think? Did what happened with the Lilly line affect how you feel about the Target brand? Or should we say job well done?

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