Rocking a red nightgown, red lips, and red nails, Gwen Stefani performed live as part of a four-minute marketing extravaganza last week during the Grammy’s commercial break. The musical number was filled with subliminal red and white spheres, not as advertising per se, according to retailing giant Target, but to help give the audience what they wanted: music in all its glory.

Gwen Stefani closed her performance of Make Me Like You on a red bull’s-eye-shaped stage for a Target-sponsored movie, as part of what the company calls “generosity from the brand.” Kristi Argyilan, SVP of media and guest engagement at Target, described the strategy today at VentureBeat’s Marketing.FWD Summit. Argyilan explained that the spot was designed to show television audiences that Target understood what they were really after – music — adding that it is part of a larger campaign that offers users experiences rather than items to purchase.

By tapping into collected user data, Argyilan said, Target realized it could add “human value” to people’s purchases. For example, with the launch of its swimsuit collection, the company aimed to emotionally bond regular items like swimsuits and blankets to memorable beach moments.

How this works: When users search for summer items at target.com, they’ll get relevant and personalized results for “the adventures they’re going on, instead of selling just specific products,” said Argyilan.

And, in order to attract younger consumers, Target decided to launch the collection online this month, weeks before the traditional launch date of swimwear but in time for college Spring Break.

The generosity” strategy began last year with another live musical performance, this one by Imagine Dragons. Target is closely tracking the acceptance rate this time around, Argyilan said, because last year’s effort “didn’t measure accordingly.” Gwen Stefani’s third solo album will be released on March 18 and will feature Make Me Like You.

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