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Target Taps Former Wieden Exec as New Head of Creative

Todd Waterbury, Former Creative Director, Is CMO's First Major Hire

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Target has tapped Todd Waterbury, a longtime creative director at Wieden & Kennedy, as its senior VP-creative.

Todd Waterbury
Todd Waterbury Credit: Fiona Aboud

Mr. Waterbury, who will begin work Jan. 14, fills a role vacated by Liz Elert, VP-creative, last summer. He will be charged with leading the creative direction of the Target brand, working with the retailer's agency partners and internal creative team. He will report directly to Jeff Jones, Target 's chief marketer. Mr. Waterbury plans to relocate to Minneapolis from New York.

It's Mr. Jones' first major hire for the retailer since becoming CMO last April. Since then he has talked repeatedly about his desire to "modernize" what marketing means at the retailer and focus on content. He's said he'll focus on user-experience design, embrace data, listen and connect with guests across a host of channels, and find new ways to harness Target 's advocates to speak on its behalf.

"We will test new ideas, learn from what fails and scale appropriately," Mr. Jones said last fall. "The lines between products, services and marketing continue to blur. We will keep pushing ourselves to think in terms of content, not just campaigns."

Most recently, Mr. Waterbury has been leading his own "creative consultancy," which did work for a variety of clients, most notably Uniqlo. He took on the title of creative director for North America for the Japanese brand. In that role he was responsible for creative direction and production but also contributed strategic counsel in areas like media. He helped to launch Uniqlo's second and third stores in New York City: one on 34th Street and another on Fifth Avenue.

Prior to that , Mr. Waterbury spent 16 years at Wieden & Kennedy as a creative director in Portland and co-executive creative director in New York. Target was a client of Wieden's for years, though Mr. Waterbury never worked on the brand.

Last year, Mr. Waterbury's personal aesthetic was described in a New York Times article about design perfectionists. His one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is outfitted almost entirely in black, gray and white, with carefully situated stacks of books, chairs, pillows, pots and pans. Even most of the art is restricted to those subdued shades; one painting features a stack of words.

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