Monday Morning QBing: Missoni for Target

So this weekend, I went to Target to buy some stuff - you know, essentials like orange juice and Pop-Tarts - and pick up some Missoni for Target socks.

Yes, I knew there was a run on the Missoni products, but I figured I was safe with socks ... but nope for both Targets (they're 1 mile away from each other, don't ask).

Credit to Target - they did an amazing job with the pre-launch; they were in men's and women's fashion magazines, there was a great buzz built up for the launch.

PR issues for Target - they were wiped out of products almost immediately, and the website was unable to sustain the traffic. And there are close to 35,000 Missoni for Target products on eBay ... and reports of 44,000 at the beginning so people were just buying to sell, and not buying to wear or use. And that's not even taking into consideration the possibility of products hoarded by employees ... .

Questions that this leads to - is it really just a one-time event, and there are no more Missoni for Target products to be sold? According to the stores, that was it. And the website was totally wiped out too. Why weren't there limits placed at the stores for what people would buy, how many they could buy, and, well, the sizes? It's obvious that people were grabbing and buying, especially with all the XL sizes on eBay. And will other top-tier designers avoid Target because they will wonder if their products will be pushed to eBay almost immediately (likely no, because it's about money paid out).

So the reality is that while the public might be upset and annoyed that they didn't get what they might have wanted (I wanted socks, even though I don't wear shoes), Target made money and the stock did rise. For shareholders, and communications employees, that's key. The crisis with the run on goods to re-sell on eBay and the crashing of the site are just blips.

But it's going to take time to repair some of those relationships ... and yet, at the same time, create more demand for the next big designer (so expect a bigger run for the goods). You would expect the company to address the issues on Facebook - actually, there are a lot of issues it seems like they need to address - but it's just a bit of answers and probably not as much as they could/should be. Of course, with a large company like them, it's hard to address every issue. But the anger and disappointment on the page is quite palpable.

All in all, though, it's a push on whether Target will have any long-term issues. People forget, profits went up, and life goes on.
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  2. Too bad about the socks! I didn't even want to to into my neighborhood Target until this whole wave blew over.

    I think it's good that Target has products from top designers that are accessible to those who can't afford them normally. But an exercise such as the Missoni line still doesn't make them accessible when they're snatched up like a Black Friday sale and put up on Ebay.

    They may need to reassess who they are trying to reach with these high-end and affordable products and how that will affect their brand if they run out of stock or have their products hijacked and sold online.

    Now, I can shop for cotton balls, kitty litter, and the occasional clearance end rack in peace!

  3. That was definitely a double edged sword for both brands. Target didn't expect the turnout even though they did some great PR for the launch, but when they ran out, they ran out. Working at a PR Firm has taught me a thing or two about managing something like this: don't run out of product. It can backfire!

  4. Target did a great job promoting the sale of Missoni through: the internet, magazines and word of mouth. Not to mention they kept getting in our head, this was a one-time event. I'm not the biggest 'fashionisa' but I almost went to see what the hype was all about.
    Of course the items were going to be sold on Ebay right away, I saw that coming. With celebrities like Jessica Alba & Jessica Simpson tweeting how sad they were they missed out. Jessica Alba even said she wished her husband stood in line for her!
    One thing I was never convinced about was the quality of the product. Yes you were buying "Missoni" but weren't you still buying Target quality. I'm sure that if it was legit Missoni people would not be going to Target to purchase it they would get the real thing.
    It is very interesting either way to see how much attention this collaboration received. This again proves that Facebook and Twitter are a key online media tools in our society today. Everyone heard about this one way or another and most did through those two social networking sites.

  5. I personally never saw the hype in the Missoni products, but I couldn't believe that Target's stock got completely emptied that fast. Unfortunately for Target, and everyone else in the world, people buy and sell on eBay. That's just the way it is. Was it a little ridiculous that Target failed to keep things in stock in stores AND online? Maybe. But there's just no stopping people on eBay. They'll literally sell anything!

  6. This is a very interesting take on PR for Target. I wonder if it was a strategic move to produce only a certain amount of Missoni merchandise or if they simply did not anticipate the response. I would agree that it is key that they made money and rose stock price. This is the ultimate purpose. However, I wonder if the growing customer frustration and annoyance is worth it in terms of Target's pr. I sure would be annoyed. It could possibly create an even greater hype for Target product launches in the future.

  7. I think Target did a great job of promoting the Missoni line and helped customers see Target as more than just a one-stop-shop for bargain household products. Now shoppers can get designer quality clothing at a fair price. But, if Target can't supply the demand then what was the point of all the PR buz? The companies effort seems a bit uneven to me.

  8. Dezmond Galaviz11/08/2011 05:30:00 PM

    I don't think setting a limit or some sort of number of items people can buy of this specific brand is very realistic at all. People were excited to hear about Missoni products coming to an affordable retail store like Target, so they took advantage of the situation. It must mean that they did a heck of a lot of PR and advertising for this promotion. Careful what you wish for!

  9. While creating a more affordable line for a major chain like Target is savvy public relations for an elite designer like Missoni, they went about the execution of the line horribly. Being a self-crowned fashionista myself, I was diligently checking the Target website to order MIssioni products the morning that they were introduced, and wasn't too surprised when the entire website was down. However, I was surprised when I had checked back later in the day only to find that their website was still unaccessible. In addition, the whole point of the clothing line is missed. Creating a more budget-friendly line to be placed in a huge store like Target which has locations all over the country is to offer couture clothing to the masses. When the majority of the line is being marked up and sold on ebay, it completely defeats the purpose of the idea entirely. Target absolutely should have placed a limit on number of items customers could purchase to ensure that this did not happen.

  10. Yes, They may need to reassess who they are trying to go to with these high-end and cost-effective items and how that will impact their organization if they run out of inventory or have their items hi-jacked and marketed on the internet.

  11. I was one of the lucky ones that got to buy the products- and i love them! However, I am aware of the number of people that did not get to buy them, and it does seem kind of unfair that after they were all hyped up by Target they don't have the chance to buy it. On the other hand, does anyone else think that the relationship with these "angry costumers" are in no need of being fixed?- there was nothing wrong with the product it was just that they couldn't buy it. I think that this will make the next big designer or plan Target has even bigger because people are aware of how hard it is to get them, and we all know everyone likes the "exclusive products" and things that are hard to get.
    Fernanda Langa
    Freeman School of Business
    Tulane University

  12. I remember this event. I thought that Target did a lot of promotion leading up to the actual event. Probably a month before or so, I saw ads and thought about checking out the sale.
    The day that the Missoni line went on sale, I remember seeing all these articles about how the Target website crashed and people went crazy over the launch of the products.
    It seemed crazy how unprepared Target was for the event. Did they not measure interest in the product prior to the start of the sale? You would think that Target would be used to the hoopla. I would think that the launch of the Missoni brand would have been similar to the sales of Nintendo Wii and PS3 back when they were the hot item. I would have thought that a big box store like Target would have realized the demand and planned and prepared for it. I was also really surprised that they didn't sell any more items after the initial launch. At first I thought it was all a marketing ploy to create more demand and that they would release more items here and there.
    Post sale, I did notice a flood of the products on eBay. I didn't think that they were selling so well. I think that maybe people got so caught up in a high end brand that they thought they would be able to pay Target prices and re-sell for regular retail Missoni prices, which is crazy.
    All in all though, I don't think that Target suffered that much. I still shop there, so does everybody else that I know. It was one of those moments when you kind of say "how did they not see that coming?" and move on. People will still need socks, they may just not be Missoni socks.

  13. Great article. I learned a lot from this article. Thanks for the information.


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