Target Launches First Mass-Media Campaign in Canada

Retailer Will Open 124 Stores In Its First Market Outside U.S. In 2013

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On Sunday, Target will launch its first integrated, mass-media campaign in Canada.

The retailer has been on the ground in the country for over a year, as it preps to roll out 124 stores in 2013. But with the first stores slated to open in March, Sunday's Oscars telecast provides a sizeable platform for the brand's "launch moment."

A 60-second English-language ad will air during the Oscars, featuring a version of Mister Roger's well-known "Won't You Be My Neighbor" song from the Canadian band Dragonette. The spot shows Bullseye, Target's canine mascot, making his way through the country. The same ad, featuring an original song in French from Quebec band Alfa Rococo, will air during La Voix (The Voice) in Quebec.

Target's First Canadian Ad Airs Sunday
Target's First Canadian Ad Airs Sunday
Laird & Partners handled the spot, while KBS+P is Target's lead brand strategy firm in Canada. Carat handles media buying and planning.

As Canada will be only Target's second market, the retailer has had to work through how it will handle marketing in multiple countries. Livia Zufferli, head of marketing for Target Canada, reports to Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada, though she works closely with Jeff Jones, chief marketer at Target, and her U.S. marketing counterparts.

"Since day one, there has been integration with our U.S. partners to tweak and adapt the process of how to bring together a global brand," Ms. Zufferli said. "We're always aware - we'll leverage and work on some assets together and still share the work to make sure, at the end of the day, what we're bringing forth is one global brand."

Ms. Zufferli declined to comment on spending for 2012 or 2013, but said Canada's media cadence would mirror that of the U.S.

For the last year, the brand has focused on engaging with Canadians and educating them about the Target brand. Awareness wasn't an issue, Ms. Zufferli said, citing a Target survey that showed 92% brand awareness in March 2012.

"That's not to say that all Canadians were necessarily aware of the total Target story or breadth of the assortment or differentiators," Ms. Zufferli added. For that reason Target has also created a "Manifesto" video that details the brand's "Expect More. Pay Less" platform. That video will be promoted via digital and social channels.

A number of event sponsorships, guerrilla marketing tactics and social media helped the brand lay the groundwork for the mass-media push and store roll out. During the Toronto Film Festival, Target took over a boutique hotel, rebranding it Hotel Target and hosting media, actors, musicians and other tastemakers. The brand also sponsored Montreal Fashion Week and partnered with the Toronto Fashion Incubator.

In December it embarked on a three-week Target Road Trip, hosting events, including a free performance by Grammy-nominated singer Carly Rae Jepsen, in more than 20 communities coast-to-coast. And a year ago, Target opened a one-day Jason Wu for Target pop-up store in Toronto's fashion district, donating proceeds to United Way Toronto.

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