When I opened up Facebook for the first time yesterday, the first 10 or so posts I read were all about Missoni for Target. Yesterday morning crowds were lined up around the block at Target stores across the country (even in my little town) to purchase Missoni items. Yes I’d seen the Target commercials of the over-the-top op art flowers and zig-zag patterns everywhere. Actually, the first thing that came to my mind were the 1970’s polyester pantsuits (pimpwear for men), hand crocheted afghans my mom made, avocado refrigerators, orange shag carpet and Ford Pintos. Pllllleeeeaase don’t make me go back! (Not one of my favorite decades.) I thought maybe, just maybe, the era was put to rest when Mike Myers’ Austin Powers made us cringe and laugh out loud in the 90’s, but OOOOh no. We apparently loved it all the more.
So what is the attraction here? Is it the sexy Italian name that sounds like an expensive sports car? Is it the bright colors and geometric patterns? The retro appeal? The Target prices vs. runway fashions that look nearly the same as those from Milan that line the racks of Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus?
Well I have to admit looking at the Missoni Home Collection, there is a fresh new sophisticated look that is more in tune with our current aesthetic…. What was it Sarah Reep said at KBIS about what appeals to Gen Y? Traditional with a modern kick… Not their mom’s traditional. Oh who am I kidding? Nobody… It’s the price! We’re in a recession people.
I did as I Tweeted that I was going to do… went to my local Target here in Santa Maria, California. We’re pretty ‘small town’ but even our shelves are bare the day after the NEW Black Friday (as coined this morning on The Today Show). The only remaining items seemed to be garments in the children’s and tween’s sections. Surprising to me because these fashions looked as though they would appeal most to that group… who seriously need to work on their lobbying skills with the parents. I have to say, Target is not the cheapest source for ANYTHING when compared to other discount department stores, though when you look at the “original” Missoni –where a dress can easily retail for $1,500 –forty bucks at Target seems frivolous… that is unless you’re 12 I guess. I did think there was a clear difference between the two Missoni dresses worn on the Today Show this morning… The Target version looked cheaper to me.
Still, this overnight purchasing explosion of the line both at all of Target’s stores and its online store is a phenomenon not seen before. Unless you are living in a cave, you know that their website was so overwhelmed with hits that it crashed… big time. So is it that everybody just wants a “Missoni thing?”
I believe it is a sign of our times and a really, really good marketing strategy by Team Target and Missoni. When you add up a few other “never befores,” it just makes sense. Never before in the history of bad economies have those who are not wealthy had the same access that is instantaneous and far-reaching as the wealthy… via the internet… for quick online, impulsive purchasing. This probably explains the postings on ebay and Craigslist across the nation that are expanding exponentially…. for Missoni items purchased at Target. What is odd is that they are being listed for as much as three times their original list price. Much of these items were purchased by resellers with this original intention… though many others joined this group when they discovered the value of their newly purchased treasures. Why not sell a back pack you just paid $39 for $150… on Craigslist for free. This bike was listed on Craigslist for $1,500 (I read in a Chicago Tribune article).
Target’s Missoni Line is a limited time offer… We don’t even know if they will be restocking their shelves for the holidays. Considering the massive success of this sales campaign… well it’s anybody’s guess. They wouldn’t say when asked on the Today Show.
I’m still convinced much has to do with timing and the economy. Target has collaborated with other high-end design houses without noticeable success. Martha Stewart has become a household name in connection with her lines sold with K-Mart, Sears and the Home Depot… Though I’ve never heard of people lining up around the block to get a can of paint from Depot or a set of sheets from K-Mart.
So what do you think? Do you (did you) like Missoni knits and fashions? Historically, famous for their fabrics and fashions, they are now making everything from hair clips to bicycles, throw pillows to skimpy lingerie. Perhaps that is ONE of the keys to their success with Target… Their signature designs are on samplings of everything –small and large, for every age and gender demographic.
Is this a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon in the world of retail marketing, or is it the wave of the future? Time will tell.