T.J. Maxx Maxx-imises engagement with gamified pop-up installations


Designer brands are a luxury that many of us want but simply can’t afford.

Skint shoppers either have to settle for more affordable knockoffs or spend months saving for a single item.

That is unless they shop in T.J. Maxx, where they can find designer fashion and lifestyle products at a discounted price, meaning they don’t have to sacrifice on quality or price to find items that are right for them. This is an approach the retailer has named ‘Maxximizing’.

And it’s a model that’s currently working well. The management company, TJX, now operates 4,306 stores worldwide and netted sales of $39 billion last year.

To bring its unique philosophy to life, T.J. Maxx launched a multi-day, multi-city interactive game to prove to consumers just how much more value they can get for their money by shopping at the discount department store.

In a clever and highly-engaging brand experience that beautifully combined real life with social media, five ‘tastemakers’ – a collective of influencers, celebrities and designers – created six themed installations using products from T.J. Maxx.

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Each tastemaker could choose their own theme like ‘Maxximise Your Vacay,’ ‘Maxximise Your Style,’ and ‘Maxximise Like a Boss,’ to base creations on.

Branded installations popped-up in iconic locations in New York and Los Angeles to showcase each tastemaker’s carefully-curated collection.  

Adding to the glamorous and exclusive feel of the experience, big, bold signage which read “the game of #maxximizing” was placed near the installation to generate buzz.  The attention-grabbing sign drew people in and created an instagrammable spot for shoppers to photograph and share on social media – increasing the campaign’s reach.

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To win everything inside each installation, consumers – either in real life or via the brand’s social channels – had to guess the value of the contents and post their guess in the comments of an Instagram video using hashtag #maxximizing.

T.J. Maxx got the campaign off to a flying start with promotional videos from its own Instagram account as well as posts from the tastemakers. The three promotional videos gained nearly 75,000 views within a few days. 

Highly-engaging and entertaining, the stunning exhibitions caught the eye of consumers and created a memorable brand experience that amplified its core message. By turning the campaign into a game, with a strong social media element, it created a fun, shareable and highly interactive customer experience.

Games and competitions are popular tools for boosting engagement in experiential marketing; in previous campaigns Birds Eye offered food in exchange for posts on Instagram and Lego partnered with Airbnb to offer one lucky winner the chance to spend the night in a Lego house.  

Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.