Alpine Expert Helps Target Stage a Vertical Catwalk Stunt
Target Corp. went all out last fall to announce the grand reopening of its Chicago store when it staged a vertical fashion show featuring models repelling down a catwalk created on the side of the 11-story building.
The effort began with an engineering study conducted by GMR and Munich, Germany-based alpine and bungee event expert Jochen Schweizer. The city needed to get the full skinny on the event’s intricate rigging system before giving the green light. So the building was surveyed and the engineering documents prepared. Four weeks later, the Mayor’s office gave the approval.
The day began with a press briefing and an opening run for a Good Morning America crew, followed by vertical fashion shows throughout the day. Large monitors were positioned around the exterior of the store showcasing live broadcasts of the happenings. By noon, the crowd was so large that the retailer had to open up a park across the street for overflow. The park was also turned into a post-fashion show event of its own, with concerts featuring local Windy City talent, activities, and shows. (Twelve-thousand people showed up at the park.)
Marshall Field’s executed a city-wide p.r. push to get citizens to show up. Inside the store, DJs cranked tunes while shoppers took advantage of an evening Grand Reopening sale and a catered party. “We used excitement outside the store to let people know about the excitement happening inside,” Michelle Mesenburg, M-F’s director of special events, told EM after the event. “This has redefined what we will expect from our events going forward.”
In all, 30,000 people swung by for the vertical fashion shows. At a time when Fashion Week was rockin’ in New York, Chicago’s own fashion event hit the airwaves with mentions on 250 U.S. stations and others on media outlets around the world. “We wanted to engage not only the people on the street, but the entire city,” says GMR evp Rick Arnstein.