THE MARKETING 100: TARGET: ROBERT THACKER

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If a retailer can make it in New York, a retailer can make it anywhere, or so the old saw goes. And Target Stores has indeed won over New York.

It was Robert Thacker, then VP-marketing at Target, who hired Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners to launch the brand in the Big Apple. He worked with the Target marketing team, led by John Pellegrene, exec VP-marketing. The six spots, which poke fun at snobbery in chic stores, were tagged "Are you ready for a store like this?"

"It was `Minnesota nice' meets Manhattan," says Mr. Thacker, who now is VP-marketing for full-line stores at Sears, Roebuck & Co. "I hired Kirshenbaum because they could speak `New York' to New Yorkers."

Among the initiatives with the New York launch were a number of lighthearted efforts, such as handing out free tokens at subway stations. Target also placed ads with the target-shaped chain logo, inviting readers who recognized it to come to a party.

The New York store quickly became the No. 1 in the chain.

"That's rare for a new store," says Mr. Thacker.

Those efforts were combined with Target's overall marketing initiatives.

One day last year, the rain forced Mr. Thacker, once a VP-creative director at Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, to seek shelter in a Sears store in St. Cloud, Minn. As a result of that experience, in which he became interested in the store's energy, he decided to see if he could make it in Chicago.

Last January, he took his new post at Sears headquarters.

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