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A Brand New Idea – Target's Success Story

By Jennifer Peterson, Marketing Director, Galaxy Bright::

The majority of marketing campaigns are merely a refresh of proven marketing methods. Therefore, when an original marketing campaign is implemented the company can reap huge rewards from the added publicity of being first.

Target’s ‘Brand New Idea’ was to purchase all the ad space in the August 22nd edition of The New Yorker magazine. Although not the first to be the sole advertiser in a magazine, they are the first to do it in The New Yorker. Target’s campaign was successful both because it was a new marketing idea and the Target’s brand positioning could not be better aligned than with The New Yorker magazine.

From the beginning Target has associated its brand with the high-end shopping experience. The Dayton brothers founded Target in 1962. According to Brian Curtis in Slate, the brothers’ vision was to position the Target brand as a “high-end dime store” rather then a “low-end department store”. There cannot be a better place to connect that feeling than with the prestigious New Yorker magazine.

Throughout the years, Target has promised the high-end shopping experience to its clientel. One avenue used to deliver this experience are the designers they hire. Isaac Mizrahi, Mossimo Giannulli and Michael Graves are all renowned designers who have their names on Target product line.

The advertisements in The New Yorker have that same goal. Jonah Bloom writing in Ad Age makes the artistic connection. “Target… bought every ad site in the issue and populated those spaces with exclusive images fashioned by world renowned illustrators. The idea was that the works could have been in the magazine on artistic merit alone, but all incorporated the Target bull’s-eye in one way or another, giving the retailer ownership of the issue.” These famous artists include Robert Risko, Yuko Shimizu and Me Company.

This “ownership of the issue” mentioned above is the real key. The estimated $1.1 million dollars to be the sole advertiser in The New Yorker is a small price to pay for all the follow up publicity they have received. The first company to move on any ‘Brand New Idea’ is almost assured extra coverage for their smart thinking. The win-win for Target in this case is 1) they will reap the benefits of being the first to market with this new idea and 2) the perfect place to align the Target brand is in The New Yorker magazine.