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Voting via Twitter, Choosing Jennifer Lopez’s Route to an Awards Show

A Kohl’s commercial featuring Jennifer Lopez, who has a clothing line at the retailer.
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HEADING into the shopping frenzy of Thanksgiving week, Kohl’s is featuring one of its collection celebrities, Jennifer Lopez, in a social media campaign involving a series of commercials that will air during the American Music Awards on Sunday.

The campaign, called “Choose Your Own Black Friday,” shows Ms. Lopez preparing for her performance on the awards show and will let viewers useTwitter to vote in real time on the outcomes of her route to the stage. Beginning on Thursday, a social media campaign will try to build anticipation for Ms. Lopez’s adventure and draw viewers to the accompanying website,, which will serve as an additional place where viewers can vote.
The series of commercials begins when Ms. Lopez’s limousine gets caught in a traffic jam, as a text from her manager asking where she is prompts her to jump through the sun roof to escape traffic and arrive at the show on time.
She is confronted with two options — run over the roof top of every car on the road — in sleek stilettos no less — or hitch a ride with a man on a moped who happens to be driving through the traffic. Viewers get to choose her route, by voting via Twitter using the hashtag #JLoHitch for the moped option or #JLoRoofRun. The votes will determine the next commercial that airs during the show.
Subsequent videos allow viewers to choose whether Ms. Lopez should climb through a tunnel (#JLoTunnel) or create an explosive device to escape being locked in a control room (#JLoJailBreak). Another spot asks viewers to choose whether Ms. Lopez uses the paparazzi to help her get to her dressing room (#JLoUseThem) or whether she hides from them (#JLoLoseThem).
Throughout the spots, Ms. Lopez plugs Kohl’s and various items from her clothing and accessories collection at Kohl’s, including a line of jewelry called JLove that will also have its debut this week.
“I want people at their Thanksgiving dinner saying, ‘Wow did you see what Kohl’s did?’ ” said Michelle Gass, the chief customer officer at Kohl’s. “It’s not just traditional broadcast anymore. It’s thinking about how the world is engaging with and consuming media today. It’s entertainment meets engagement.”
Votes will be tallied during the awards show and the chosen spots will be broadcast during the commercial breaks. After the final commercial, Ms. Lopez will perform at the awards show.
Ms. Lopez has had a longstanding relationship with Kohl’s. In 2011 she announced a clothing collection under her name that included intimate apparel, active wear, accessories and home décor.
“We’re always trying to think of new and interesting things to do that involve the consumer,” Ms. Lopez said. “Everything is so interactive these days that you have to find new ways to connect with who you want to connect with.”
Ms. Lopez described the commercials as “little action comedy moments that are based in reality.”
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been going to an awards show and gotten stuck in traffic,” she said.
Kohl’s worked with the advertising agency Peterson Milla Hooks to create the campaign featuring Ms. Lopez as well as additional holiday-themed television commercials. One spot, called “Surprise,” aired nationally on Nov. 11 and features a young couple decorating the apartment of an elderly neighbor in her absence, using Christmas decorations from Kohl’s. A second holiday spot will be revealed on Sunday.
“The brand message is very much using the emotion of the holidays, giving gifts or having family over, doing charitable things or being conscious of the world around us,” said Ryan G. Boekelheide, an account director at Peterson Milla Hooks.
Ms. Gass, who was a senior executive at Starbucks before coming to Kohl’s, said that in addition to advertising, the retailer had been expanding its product lines to include categories like beauty, toys and electronics with brands like Beats by Dre and Sony. According to data from Kantar Media, a unit of WPP, Kohl’s spent $357 million on marketing and advertising in 2012, including $129.2 million in the fourth quarter alone. The company is expected to increase the amount it spent on Black Friday marketing last year by 20 percent in 2013.
Geri Wang, the president of sales at ABC, said the effort was a first for the network. “It’s the first time for us working with a client in real time on how the creative is being portrayed inside a live show, completely controlled by the biggest fans and the Kohl’s customer base.” Ms. Wang added that the network was having “much more creative conversations” with their clients about more ambitious and integrated forms of advertising and marketing.

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