Target’s radical new integrated “shoppable film.”

You know how people have been talking for years about the idea of being able to watch a TV show and click on items you see that you want to buy? Well, Target finally did it, and in so doing have introduced a radical new ad format.

For the Fall 2012 campaign, Target commissioned a 12 minute rom-com from MadMen director Phil Abraham, starring actress Kristen Bell, and aired it in four 3 minute episodes. Nothing new there. We’ve been seeing sponsored content with product placement for years.

screenshot of Falling For YouHowever, this time it’s different. This time, the products in the story scroll by on the right side of the screen as the movie plays. You can click a product and it will save it for viewing after the show. You really have to see it to understand the experience:

In addition, the show plays exclusively on Not YouTube. Not a TV channel. Not in a news channel feed. This gives Target total control over the data that website visitors provide, not to mention the ability to capture an instant friction-free sale.

Target Red Carpet PartyThe final episode was a live “style event” party in New York (you can still view the recorded version) that included simulated red carpet interviews with the cast & crew, plus sundry celebs (Anna Kendrick, Rose Byrne) all raving about Target.

Target TV ad screenshot

Then came the unveiling of the Fall campaign’s TV spot on a huge cinema-style screen, followed by a live cirque-du-soleil inspired performance featuring drummers and aerialists wearing Target clothes and bouncing off a variety of Target’s home décor items. Lest we forget social media, the web audience was encouraged to join in the fun via Twitter.

In short, they managed to integrate TV entertainment, web, social media, live entertainment, celebrity spotting and e-commerce. It remains to be seen how profitable it was, but there’s no denying that it’s a powerful new format.