The recession may be taking its toll on traditional media, but it doesn't seem to apply as much to in-store video networks. Retailers continue to look for new ways to engage customers when they're in the mood to shop.
One of the most recent converts is Tween Brands, the largest retailer targeting tween girls (ages 7-14), which recently finished installation of The Tween Network in 600 of its Justice and Limited Too stores.
Until now, the retailer's marketing strategy has relied on mailing its “catazines” (think catalog plus some content and advertising) directly to its database of 10 million plus tweens. The Tween Network closes the loop with customers in the stores.
"We wanted to bring our brand to life within our store and create a destination for tweens and their moms with social content that gives the girls status," said Scott Bracale, president of Tween Brands Agency. "The length of stay for the family unit in the store appears to be longer. [The network] is now one of our core strategies of our media business."
Working with Seattle-based Retail Entertainment Design, Tween Network content is a mix of fashion, photo shoots, music videos, and artist interviews. About five percent of the content is paid advertising from marketers trying to reach tween girls, such as American Greetings, Nickelodeon and recording artists.
While the advertising helps Tween Brands offset the cost of the network, the company is very careful about the advertisers that it co-brands with its stores.
"We make a fair amount of money from a few outside advertisers, but we have no interest in turning it into a stream of one ad after another," said Bracale, which has about five to six advertisers a month. "We want to sell advertising that is appropriate to our brand and environment so it’s integrated into the brand presentation. You're not going to monetize [the in-store network] unless you have the brand cache and brand rub that we do."
For now, Tween Brands is holding off on installing the network in the balance of its 250 stores. Instead, the company is looking to invest more in customizing content to market promotions and special features, even introducing a Tween Network VJ.