Target Teams With Improv Everywhere For Elaborate Christmas Carol Stunt
The retailer orchestrates a feel-good stunt for a video distributed via email, social media and PR channels.
Since 2001, Improv Everywhere has been evoking delightful surprise with stunts ranging from riding New York subways without pants, touting Trident Gum in a grocery store, dressing 80 random people in Best Buy uniforms and infiltrating a store and posting an attendant in a McDonald’s bathroom.
This week, Improv Everywhere teamed with Target for some unconventional marketing and to orchestrate an elaborate Christmas Carol stunt involving five surprised families. Unlike many of Improv Everywhere’s flashmob-style stunts, the Target stunt involved elaborate planning, a large crew and five willing mothers.
To execute the stunt, Improv Everywhere rented a house in Bergen County, New Jersey; used its 65,000 person mailing list to find families in the area under the guise of shooting a family portrait; outfitted the house with festive decorations as well as hidden cameras; and set up a production studio in the basement.
When families arrived (only the moms were in on the joke and then even they were somewhat duped), they were told to wait in the living room but to answer the doorbell if it rang as other families were to arrive, as well.
Of course, it wasn’t another family that arrived. Rather, it was four Christmas carolers which, in stages, grew to more carolers; four Santa Clauses; two snowmen; a 20-person orchestra which jumped out of a truck; and soloist Aaron Jackson from Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre who belted out a version of Marshmallow World. Target has adopted Marshmallow World as the official song for its holiday marketing, using it in television commercials throughout the season.
The resulting video, which has been viewed 82,000 times since launch on December 16, is branded with a simple “Thanks to Target for making this possible” card and a link to more Target holiday videos. The company let its most dedicated customers know via its A Bullseye View email subscriber list, its Facebook page, and its Twitter presence.
— Target (@Target) December 16, 2014
Additionally, the brand got pick-up for its stunt — and got its story retold in animated gifs — with a story on Buzzfeed.