To celebrate the launch of Cat & Jack, its new clothing line for kids and babies, Target from July 23-24 transformed a vacant lot at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park into a family-friendly pop-up playground.
The event kicked off July 21 with an evening fashion show. But instead of a runway, the kid models—some of whom actually helped Target design the clothing line—made their entrance by sliding down the centerpiece of the activation, a giant carnival slide. Celebrities including actresses Blake Lively, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Bilson and lifestyle expert Camila Alves were among VIP guests.
From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the Pop-up Playground was free and open to the public. Attendees could park their strollers in a designated area and then grab a pair of Target-branded sunglasses from a brand ambassador on their way in. (High fives to the staffers at this event who, each time we visited, managed to stay upbeat despite the scorching summer heat.)
Once inside, families could play a game of corn hole, use rope Xs and Os to play tic-tac-toe or hop in line at the two-story gumball machine to give the knob a turn. Inside each ball were prizes including gift cards (we scored one for $5), stickers featuring artwork from the Cat & Jack collection and other giveaways.
Just past a step-and-repeat, attendees could fill out a short waiver, pick up a burlap sack and take their turn on the slide. Based on the expressions we saw on riders’ faces (and personal experience), the slide offered just the right blend of sheer terror and excitement. We also loved the wristband that let you skip the waiver line on return visits.
On the other side of the Pop-up Playground, families could grab a prop (moustaches, hearts, Cat & Jack flags, glasses and a crown were among the options), and step into a hot air balloon set for a photo. Under a nearby tent, engagements included free nail art applications, temporary tattoos and a fresh “do” at the SoCozy Styling Bar. A couple of carts offered ice-cold popsicles, and a water station kept people hydrated throughout the day. Across social media, #CatandJack and #SoCozyKid tracked all the action.
Family-friendly events can be a marketing challenge. They have to appeal equally to the attention spans of kids while conveying their value proposition to parents. This event offered a smart mix of both, intriguing adults with a taste of Target’s signature design sensibility and style (kudos to agency David Stark Design and Production for his team’s interpretation and beautifully executed set pieces), while entertaining kids just long enough to make it a worthwhile outing. Or, in our case, entertaining kids so well they beg to go back and hit the slide just one more time.