See the Spot: Target Goes Pint-Size for Back-To-School

Retailer Worked With Deutsch, 826LA on Child-Led Campaign

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Kids are doing the heavy lifting in Target's new back-to-school campaign, a seven-spot effort in which children direct, perform and design. In one 15-second spot, young girls who were strangers bond over their matching lunchboxes and Princess Leia-inspired hair. In another, a boy uses erasers to make his illustrated monster friendlier and less scary. Both commercials include scenery drawn by children.

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"This isn't just a commercial, it is essentially an all-kid created campaign," says a young participant in a nearly-three-minute behind-the-scenes clip that Target released on Monday. The ads began airing locally this week for the Minneapolis-based retailer and will debut nationally at the end of the month. Some 130 kids submitted stories for the campaign, and only seven made the cut.

Target worked with Deutsch on the campaign, and also tapped 826LA, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that runs writing workshops for kids. The retailer will again offer its online School List Assist tool for supply lists, and plans to donate up to $5 million through DonorsChoose.org to fund projects for healthier living in schools.

The 1,792-unit chain, which generated $73.8 billion in sales last year, just released a new in-house line of apparel for kids called Cat & Jack, replacing its Circo and Cherokee brands. The collection comes on the heels of Pillowfort, a new d├ęcor and bedding line for youngsters introduced earlier this year.

"Kids and families are incredibly important to Target, and just as parents recognize the potential in their kids, Target does too," said Jeff Jones, chief marketing officer at Target, in a statement.

Target spent $118.1 million on measured media in the U.S. between July and September last year, according to Kantar Media.

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