With economic pressures continuing to weigh on consumer wallets, Target is injecting a more pointed message around affordability into its holiday marketing. The big-box store’s latest campaign is guided by the mantra of “However You Holiday, Do It For Less” and promotes a selection of everyday items that complement a more typical seasonal assortment.
Target at the same time is putting more energy toward generating digital traffic this year, increasing its investments in the channel by 20% and focusing on media mix optimization throughout the Q4 period. The strategy comes as 75% of Target customers’ digital shopping journeys now begin on mobile, giving greater precedence to areas like social media.
In total, “However You Holiday, Do It For Less” encompasses over 100 spots, with creative running across TV, digital, video, social, digital display, paid search and audio channels. Commercials will appear during “Monday Night Football” broadcasts and surface on streamers including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN. EssenceMediacom handled media duties.
Along with the emphasis on dollar value, the “do it for less” message ties into Target’s same-day services, including free order pick-up and drive-up and delivery through the retailer’s Shipt platform.
“Our goal is to deliver value and deals, but we also know our guests seek inspiration and newness. That’s a balance Target does really well,” said Lisa Roath, who was promoted to Target’s CMO role in July. “There are no trade-offs at Target between affordability, quality, joy, and ease, and that’s the heart of this year’s holiday marketing campaign.”
Spirit of the season
A series of new ads tackle broad holiday motifs, such as “Lights,” “Magic” and “Style,” and demonstrate how they touch on various product categories at Target. The “Lights” spot, for instance, initially shows off Christmas lights and a menorah before jumping to more general goods like “delights” in the form of cookies, light roast coffee and light clothing layers. The aim is to inspire consumers as they plan for parties and other winter events, as well as during their day-to-day shopping trips.
On that front, Target has added thousands of new products to its assortment this year, ranging from toys priced at $25 to $1 stocking stuffers. The company is using the moment to tout partnerships with brands like Fenty Beauty, Kendra Scott and Mattel, along with private labels including the recently launched Figmint kitchen line.
Developed and produced with agency Mother, the holiday campaign is soundtracked by a cover of Faith Evans’ “Love Like This,” seeking to summon nostalgic feelings around the end of the year. The modernized tune is performed by up-and-coming R&B artist Rosemarie and produced by OneRepbulic’s Ryan Tedder, with English and Spanish versions.
“For years, we’ve really thought about the importance of music in our marketing,” said Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer. “Music is a connector. Music is a unifier. Especially during this time of the year.”
Eye on experiences
Target this season is also bringing back experiential marketing following a difficult stretch of pandemic years. A Target Wonderland pop-up will tour New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles and carry toys from brands like Mattel, Lego and Nintendo.
In-store activations embody a theme of travel, with a Grand Central Station-inspired “gifting gateway” carrying toy collections. A collaboration with British retailer Marks & Spencer will bring a shopping area shaped like a red double-decker bus for consumers to explore and pick up goods like hot chocolate and cookie tins.
The Grand Central concept also lives as a virtual activation, part of Target’s push around 360-degree experiences that are designed to immerse people who are browsing online, with dedicated shops for brands such as Barbie and Play-Doh. Meanwhile, Target’s website is hosting exclusive collections with Disney and FAO Schwarz.
Target’s holiday blitz joins other retailers in trying to balance a sentimental story with one centered on good value. The effort follows a trying period for the company, which was swept up in cultural war backlash over its Pride Month displays last summer. That controversy weighed on performance, and Target has had to fight harder to win over shoppers as prices rise and student loan repayments kick back in. Target’s comparable sales dropped 5.4% in Q2, with digital experiencing a 10.5% year-over-year drop, though the company beat profit expectations.