The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 24, 2013

Target pursues college students with Bullseye University

The young girl in T-shirt and shorts paces up and down her dorm room, occasionally stopping to vault herself on top of the bunk bed and then back down again.

“Who finished the pizza?” she seems to ask no one in particular. “I did.”

This millennial’s musings would seem typical of any bored college student, if it weren’t for the thousand or so people watching her online.

For four days last week, Target live-streamed five YouTube personalities as they mused, joked, ate, slept and generally passed the time in makeshift dorm rooms outfitted with products sold by the Minneapolis-based retailer.

Not quite commercial, not quite reality, Target’s digital experiment, dubbed Bullseye University, represents its most ambitious attempt to penetrate the digital universe of college students. By scrolling over each room on BullseyeUniversity.com, viewers could also activate pop-up boxes that give information about the merchandise and links to purchasing them on Target.com.

Brian Kelly, a retail consultant and former top marketing executive at Sears, says live-streaming millennials interacting with Target products gives Bullseye University an air of relevance “that’s not as creepy” as other voyeuristic projects.

“Part of the message is the medium,” Kelly said. “And if you can find a way to drive commerce, then why not?”

If Bullseye University seems a bit like “Real World,” MTV’s long-running reality show, well, that’s the point. (MTV actually sponsored a concert on the site.) To connect with digital-savvy college students, Target officials say they needed to move beyond commercials and circulars and focus on what resonates with the younger set.

“The millennial guest is different from other generations, especially their media consumption,” Senior Vice President of Marketing Rick Gomez said in an interview. “They are all over digital, mobile, social. … So we have invested a significant part of the back-to-college campaign to the digital space.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Allina drops celebrated birthing option MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Allina Health has pulled the drain plug on a celebrated birthing option at its 11 Minnesota hospitals and the Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis. Allina says it will no longer offer water births because of new guidance from the Ame

    April 24, 2014

  • Federal study finds mercury in trout caught in three Grand Canyon creeks PHOENIX — With their natural beauty and protected environments, the Grand Canyon and other national parks in the West would seem removed from having mercury in their streams and rivers. But a federal study found small levels of the contaminant in ra

    April 24, 2014

  • Post office sales fight grows SAN FRANCISCO — The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued a report to Congress that criticizes the U.S. Postal Service’s disposal of historic properties and calls for a suspension of all sales until a host of recommendations are implem

    April 24, 2014

  • Lawmakers jockey over budget surpluses WASHINGTON — Less than 24 hours after the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team beat cross-state rival Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray asked state lawmakers for $80 million to renovate Rupp Arena, the iconic bui

    April 23, 2014

  • Minn. lawmakers seek to enhance privacy protection ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are on the verge of cracking down on public employees who abuse their access to citizen data. A measure being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee would do more to expose and punish data snoope

    April 23, 2014

  • Republican activists push party on gay marriage LAS VEGAS (AP) — As bans against gay marriage crumble and public opinion on the issue shifts rapidly, some Republicans are pushing the party to drop its opposition to same-sex unions, part of a broader campaign to get the GOP to appeal to younger vot

    April 23, 2014

  • mfp church abuse Archbishop deposition on abuse made public Archbishop John Nienstedt says no one reprimanded who handled abuse

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legislature takes aim at new lottery games Legislators angry lottery didn't tell of new games

    April 22, 2014

  • NE ski resort extends season Lutsen still has two to four feet of snow on its runs

    April 22, 2014

  • Mpls police looking for pit bull, owner Man injured, dog killed when attacked in park

    April 22, 2014