Will Reality TV Help Target Connect With College Kids?

Discussion
Jul 16, 2013

To reach cyber-savvy college kids, Target is creating a mini reality TV show and installing a pop-up "dorm room" program as part of a reality TV themed extension of its annual "Bullseye University" campaign.

A highlight of the campaign is the Bullseye University Digital Experience, featuring five YouTube personalities living in a life-size "dorm," created on a set in Los Angeles, for three days — July 15 to 18. According to USA Today, the personalities include Chester See, a producer, actor and musician who has his own YouTube channel; and Tessa Violet, known as "Meekakitty," who does video blogging and loves "debating sci-fi movies, making music videos and talking about anything." The three other roommates include a magician, a fashion hound and a gamer.

At bullseyeuniversity.com, online visitors can interact with personalities, participate in workouts in the Bullseye University lounge, attend a streamed concert hosted by MTV, and win up to 400 prizes as part of a sweepstakes campaign. They can also shop for products they spot in the dorm room with a point and click.

In more of a pop-up reality TV effort, Target is introducing Live Dorm Rooms on five college campuses — Texas A&M, Auburn, Georgia State, George Mason and UCLA — throughout August and September. The freestanding, glass-enclosed structures will be occupied by a student and fully furnished with products from Target. Students will have the opportunity to win products and other prizes through social media, and receive coupon offers on site. The Target products feature QR codes for online shopping.

Target is also expanding on many of the digital shopping tools and services it has included in past BTS efforts, including:

  • uStyler: An online tool that enables browsers to mix and match dorm décor in a virtual rooms to create their own personalized look. The designs can be shared through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest;
  • The Checklist: Also available at Target.com/college and on the Target mobile app, the tool helps students organize and personalize their back-to-college shopping list. The Checklist includes customized product recommendations based on different living situations, and can also be shared socially;
  • After-Hours Busing Events: Target will bus freshman to a local store after hours at 100 campuses during August and September.

"It’s a really important season, because if we can get this young adult millennial who is going into a new life stage, it’s a way to get a loyal guest for a lifetime," Rick Gomez, SVP, marketing, Target told Advertising Age.

How well do you think the various elements of Target’s “Bullseye University” campaign will connect with college kids? What particular risks and benefits do you see from campaigns such as this?

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5 Comments on "Will Reality TV Help Target Connect With College Kids?"


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Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
8 years 10 months ago

While I give them a B+ for creativity, I honestly don’t get the fascination the past few years, with watching people move about in glass “bubbles.” Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I went to college, but I can’t imagine too many college students paying attention to this. These kids will be on their best, and most boring behavior. And, the message this sends is that life is all about shopping, which I guess has some element of truth to it.

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
8 years 10 months ago

Young people’s lives are so saturated with “reality” entertainment already, that I doubt they will find much in this campaign that holds their attention. This is undoubtedly an important segment for Target, but with “Bullseye University” it feels like they are trying too hard. As most parents and educators know, trying too hard to reach young people is a good way to guarantee that they will tune out your message.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

I am pretty sure that the fewer and fewer of American college students that can afford dorm life will at least give it a look see. But, isn’t this a rapidly shrinking market? I was under the impression that advertisement should seek a majority content. This program might be cut sooner than anticipated.

Lee Kent
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

As much as I applaud Target for their creative ideas—like the Feed campaign which is great—this one is not a winner to me.

It is contrived! That is not what these young people go for. Perhaps Target would have been better having students compete in putting together their dorm rooms using Target products and target tools.

Have you visited a dorm room lately? Some of these kids can do some amazing things. A big hit around my parts is the loft effect. They buy kits and turn their rooms into lofts.

Target, you need to let the young people see what others have done with your products and tools and it will spark ideas for them. I’m just sayin’….

Brady Willhite
Guest
Brady Willhite
8 years 10 months ago
I think it is a smart way to sell dorm room products. It’s relevant, meeting the market head-on, making it more personal by following specific students. It’s brilliant, yet seems like a simple idea. However, being a former Admissions Rep for a smaller college, I would have liked to have seen each featured college student going to a different type of institution; one kid going to a community college, another to a public four year university, another to a smaller public four year university or college, and one to a private four year university (and you could maybe even throw in a 5th student going to a smaller private institution as well). I think it’s important to always promote higher education, and just like each student has many options with how they want to set up their dorm rooms with stuff from Target, they also have many options for different types of colleges to go to. They don’t all have to be large, nationally known universities with high enrollment. Each campus offers a different personality.… Read more »
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