Sticking to the unique and unexpected, Target has decided to sit out of the Super Bowl ad race and launch Snack Bowl instead. Snack Bowl, developed by Olson, is a game that may be played on mobile web browsers or through its iPhone and Android applications. The concept is simple: throw brand name snacks at invitees who are both wearing jerseys (the football touch) and running around your digi-living room. The higher the level, the faster they go. And, of course, if you would like to play this with your friends (and help Target with a little WOM), then you have the option of sharing your scores on Facebook.

Target commenced 2013 with a bang.  First, they introduced their Everyday Collection ads which, needless to say, were a complete diversion from their usual strategy.  The TV spots showcased bake mix, light bulbs and every banal thing in-between; however, it is not the usual red color scheme that you witness, but a white one instead.  Makes sense, right?  A bland theme fits well with the “everyday.”

There is no mention of prices, calories, or other details typical of these kinds of commercials.  Instead, these ads are distinct.  They are stylized as if they were promoting high-end cosmetics or the latest luxury brands.  We all knew that these day-to-day products were available at Target, but now viewers are realizing that groceries also fit into the “Expect more.  Pay less.” promise.  And, with this, comes Snack Bowl.

Images: FastCoCreate / Olson

There is no time like the pre-Super-Bowl-present to drive up the marketing of your snackage variety and Target knows this well.  Since these snacks have a leading role in the Everyday Collection, Target has chosen to focus on them during this opportune moment.  Instead of spending millions on a television ad (of which they’ve recently had many), Target has wisely chosen to connect with their consumers in a personal, light way.

The benefit of a game is that users interact with highlighted products in a childlike (and therefore pleasurable, Freudian) manner, hopefully bringing those brands closer to that unconscious decision-maker.  It is personal in a way that only a high score victory can be fun because it is different, social and humorous.  Just like the Everyday Collection ads, Snack Bowl represents Target’s attempts at infiltrating the basic by painting it attractive.  This, ladies and gentleman, is the best of IMC. With attention-grabbing aesthetics and seamless product placement, Target’s marketing decisions are ones to watch…and learn from.