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At the start of the 2011 New York Fashion Week, Missoni made a big splash in an unusual setting: It launched a collection for Target, the diametric opposite of the high-end stores that usually carry the expensive Italian brand.

The collection came available online at 6:00 a.m. the day of the launch; unprecedented levels of traffic on the website shut it down almost immediately. More people visited the website to view and buy the limited edition collection than shopped on Black Friday.

Part of the reason for the serious attention has been growing anticipation through social media. Target’s style Facebook page featured a blogger who detailed all of the excitement about Missoni’s Target launch during Fashion Week—though this blogger was unlike any other. A 25-foot “robo doll” dressed in Missoni, Marina the blogger appeared at different places during Fashion Week, offering built-in WiFi for anyone who was nearby and needed to check up on things.

On September 7, just days before the launch, a Missoni for Target pop-up shop on 42nd Street and 7th Avenue opened to fashion editors and celebrities. Even when the clientele was limited to people who seemingly could access Missoni in its usual sites, the temporary store had to close after just one day, because it had run out of stock

The public relations blitz was remarkable—though not all of it was good, as shoppers complained about their inability to access the Missoni collection. Whether the pairing will work in the long run, or at least for the limited run of the collaboration, remains to be seen.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Will shoppers become loyal Target customers must because of the collaboration with Missoni on this collection?

Sharon Edelson, “Missoni Demand Swamps Target Web Site,” The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2011.

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