How Harry Styles Turned Target into “Harry’s House”
Whose house? Harry’s house! It took just 72 hours for Harry Styles’s “Harry’s House” to break the record for the biggest vinyl sales week in the U.S. since data began being tracked in 1991. One reason why: he knows where his fans are — at places such as Target.
Vinyl is enjoying a renaissance, reaching $1 billion in sales in 2021, according to the RIAA. MusicWatch says that 25% of those shoppers are aged 13–24; if you factor in the 25–34 age bracket, that figure surges to roughly half. Target is a cultural touchstone for this demographic. Per ClickZ, Gen Z “loves Target. And according to C+R Research, college students, the oldest members of Gen Z, love it the most.”
Gen Z go on Target runs together. They talk about Target on social (on TikTok, posts with the #Target hashtag have been viewed 12.6 billion times and counting). And they’ve made Target Harry’s House.
In 2020, his fans triggered a run on Cashmere Vanilla by Target’s Threshold candles when a rumor spread that the product smelled like his favorite perfume. Long before “Harry’s House” was available at Target, fans scoured the Target website for clues about the album’s release date and cover art. They talked up their findings on social media. When the album dropped on May 20 — via a translucent yello special edition only available at Target — fans rushed the store and snapped photos of themselves with their merchandise on social, giving new meaning to the term “Target Run.” Just search for “Target” and “Harry Styles” on Twitter to get a taste of the commentary, including:
Think about all this from Target’s perspective. By being at the epicenter of culture, Target does more than sell merchandise. Target builds brand loyalty.
Harry Styles is a master of social media, but he also understands offline branding. Target is but one example. His pop-up shops that operated during the weekend of May 20 were packed (my wife and I were at the Chicago store. The line to get in was insane).
By understanding where his audience is, and Harry Styles creates fandom and shapes culture. Target is right there with him.