Thursday, September 22, 2011

Too Big a Target?

By Jennifer Schiller

Want to cause a massive crash of your online shopping system? Offer one of the most high-end fashion labels at bargain prices. That’s what happened to mega-everything-retailer Target last week when it offered a line designed by uber-chic Italian brand Missoni.

Just minutes after launch the site crashed due to high volume and many of those who waited anxiously were left without the pieces they had coveted since the collaboration was announced. Stores too were left dismantled only hours after opening.

Now, the Associated Press is reporting that many of the customers who thought they had purchased one of the line’s many items - from clothing to house wares - are experiencing delays with shipping or having orders canceled. Many of those dissatisfied shunned brand loyalty and taken to social media outlets to protest and encourage others to no longer shop at Target or

This was not Target’s first major label collaboration, having worked with industry giants like Jean Paul Gauliter and popular Liberty of London in the past. But this time Target’s PR folks did such a phenomenal job drumming up unparalleled levels of anticipation the tech world could not keep up, leading to the problems facing the giant now.

All of which begs a question: can a brand get too big? Is it really possible as the article suggests that Target was too good for its own good in this case?

In the popularity contest that is retail is losing some disgruntled shoppers worth the risk of gaining celebrity attention with tweets from stars like Jessica Alba and lines around the corner? And as social media grows can the average person outweigh celebrities and brands in terms of clout?

Only a week removed from Missoni-mania it remains to be seen how much of a hit Target’s image will take from the ordering and site issues. Analysts disagree on the long-term effects for the chain-retailer with some saying the disappointment is fleeting and others forecasting larger worries. However, in the immediacy it brings to the forefront whether an idea and campaign can be so good, it’s bad.

Personally I will enjoy my Missoni for Target heels I picked up worry-free at a nearby, nearly empty Target, but as I do I will wonder did Target create too big a bull’s-eye, one it simply couldn’t escape?

Jennifer Schiller is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR.  Contact her at

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