Target’s Red Carpet Real-Time Marketing Win

real-time marketing

When the lights went out at the Super Bowl last January, Oreo won big with the now infamous “You can still dunk in the dark” graphic. It doesn’t necessarily take a disaster for brands to ride the social media buzz of a major broadcast event, though.

As stars walked the red carpet at Sunday evening’s Emmy Awards, Target’s social team was busy turning the night’s most talked-about fashion into a shopping opportunity. Former 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live writer Tina Fey showed up in a cobalt gown, and Target was quick to release a social media-friendly showcase of their own cobalt-colored products.

From quick thinking to paid media and a focus on sales, here’s what made this simple social media graphic a noteworthy real-time marketing campaign.

Resources at the ready

Real-time marketing campaigns don’t happen by accident. The team behind Target’s social outlets clearly had a fashion-focused plan at the ready long before the red carpet was rolled out. And when it came time for the big event, the required team members (graphic designers, community managers, paid media specialists) were all on call to do what they do best in real-time.

Multi-platform (but careful) posting

With the time, effort and budget it takes to get a campaign like this off the ground, it makes sense to repurpose those assets across multiple platforms. Target posted the graphic on Facebook and Twitter, but made the call not to plaster it across Instagram (where post links are as-of-yet non-existent) and Google Plus (where they have far fewer followers).

Paid media backup

Social paid media presents the opportunity to get a piece of content in front of a much larger, targeted audience. Target promoted the cobalt post on both Facebook and Twitter in order to expose the content to those that don’t yet like or follow the retailer online.

Tina Fey


Oreo’s Super Bowl meme was simple and brilliant, but Target’s real-time campaign had the all-important sales focus. Facebook and Twitter campaigns linked to a landing page that allowed visitors to purchase all of the cobalt items right then and there. This makes Target’s real-time efforts both actionable and trackable.

Target ecommerce