In the world of social media, video is leaping its way to the forefront. Target recognized this, and decided to push the envelope with their video ad experience.
We don’t use the word “experience” sparingly: What Target debuted recently was an immersive customer journey utilizing 360i technology. The Minnesota-based powerhouse retailer released their “The House on Hallow Hill” ad set mid-October. The video starts with a first-person view of someone taking a photo of a haunted house, and consequently a raven ends up stealing the phone and heading inside the home with it.
Then, the viewer is prompted to go inside (this in and of itself is a brilliant move, considering how attached people are to their phones these days, so it’s inevitable that the viewer will follow). What happens next is the exciting part—the viewer can choose which room they want to enter from various options to see where the raven is hiding.
Already, the viewer feels like they’re involved. They’re not just watching a brand try to sell them something—it becomes personal. And the interactivity continues. Once in the room, the viewer can click and drag the screen to have a 360 view of the room. Lining the walls of each room are Target items, meticulously placed in a Halloween home décor fashion. Viewers can quickly purchase any item they see by tapping the YouTube information button which brings them to Target’s e-commerce site.
A number of advertisers have been employing the “choose your adventure” type of ads—including Wendy’s and Old Spice—but none seem as detailed as Target’s so far. Staying innovative, and committing to the future of video in a way that they have will keep their customers engaged and wanting more. Many brands are afraid to take the leap into interactive video until the technology is more perfected, but those who strategically take risks on social media will excel tenfold. It will stand them apart from the rest.
There are a few setbacks with using this type of ad—especially that it doesn’t work on all types of screens. It works on the mobile YouTube app and on desktop in some browsers, but not all. It also doesn’t work on a mobile browser on the iPhone 6. Additionally, since it relies on YouTube technology (the information button specifically), viewers watching on Facebook and Twitter may be left confused as to what to do next if the information button doesn’t appear.
Despite these setbacks, the risk is worth it. Target is being seen as an innovator and a brand that takes leaps to produce results and to connect to their customer base. At the time of this writing (11 days after the ad was originally released), the video has racked up 616,773 views. YouTube user comments include: “My life is changed,” “FINALLY! An ad I can enjoy for once!” and “WOW! Target just won the ad game with this.”
Taking risks in marketing is what provides results. If you play it safe, your customers won’t be intrigued or captivated. The land of marketing is ever-changing, and you need to stay on top of the trends, or create new trends, to be noticed.