Cable network TBS will feature the retailer’s wares in a subplot during tonight’s installment of the sitcom at 10 P.M. Eastern. Consumers synced with ShopCougarTown.com on a tablet or smartphone can click through to purchase the items they see on the show. The items will remain available on the custom site through April 15.
Amy Dusto , Associate Editor
Consumers who tune into TBS’ comedy “Cougar Town” tonight will have the opportunity to not only watch the foibles of Courteney Cox and her pals as they deal with middle-aged life in suburban Florida, but to shop like them, too. Target Corp. is launching its first TV-connected “second-screen” shopping campaign to go with the episode, which airs at 10 P.M. Eastern.
Target set up the web site ShopCougarTown.com for the campaign. At the beginning of the show, viewers will be encouraged to visit the site on a PC, smartphone or tablet, and click to sync with the cable version, a spokeswoman for the retailer says. That begins a concurrent web version of the episode playing on the consumer’s secondary device, or “second screen.” The web version of the show includes “hotspots” over each featured item from Target, designated by a red plus sign, the spokeswoman says. When a consumer clicks on a hotspot, the show pauses on the second screen and an overlay pops up for her to purchase that item without leaving the page.
Tonight’s episode will feature about 30 pieces from Target’s Nate Berkus home furnishings collection, including pillows, baskets, picture frames and lamps, according to the spokeswoman. Those items will be highlighted especially when “Cougar Town” character Laurie, played by actress Busy Philipps, heads to Target on a redecorating mission, then spends time rearranging the items she purchased back at her home. All of the items from the show will be available for purchase on ShopCougarTown.com through April 15.
During the episode, ShopCougarTown.com will also aggregate social content with the hashtag #ShopCougarTown, the spokeswoman says. The site also includes video clips and behind-the-scenes videos from the show, with the items in those videos displayed beneath and linking to Target.com.
“Our research showed that ‘Cougar Town’’s viewers love their homes and design, and they love shopping at Target, so we felt the show was the right fit to bring Target products to life in a new way for our guests,” the spokeswoman says. In fact, she says, Target last year ran a promotion with “Cougar Town” in which the characters Bobby and Travis, played by Brian Van Holt and Dan Byrd, respectively, took a “vacation” in a Target store. That promotion was not shoppable.
Tonight’s TV campaign is not Target’s first take on connecting shopping to videos. This past fall, Target ran a back-to-school campaign featuring Internet celebrities in shoppable YouTube videos. And, in the fall of 2012, the retailer shot its own short film for the web, a romantic comedy called “Falling for You,” which consumers could click on to purchase. That was an extension of its 2012 fall style campaign, and Target developed the show and web site itself, the spokeswoman says.
In contrast, cable TV network TBS built custom technology for Target to make the “Cougar Town” episode shoppable online, and it is hosting the web version of the show on TBS.com/Target, she says. ShopCougarTown.com connects to the TBS site. “Our ability to bring design innovation to the masses is one of the reasons guests love us,” she says. “Trying out new platforms to get inspired by design is one way we do this. Offering our guests a steady stream of new and exciting collaborations is another.”
Target is No. 18 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.