Target’s holiday marketing push this year may look similar to previous years. Like last year, it’s starting on Nov. 1. There are 20 English spots and 18 Spanish spots, the same lineup as in 2018. There is a larger anthem spot, that at 60 seconds is double the length of last year’s, but still highlights Target’s vast array of products in a jazzy, song-driven method. Even the name of the campaign, “Thinking of You,” is similar in its invitational cadence to 2018’s “Gather Round.”
The big difference this year is that Target is well-positioned for sales success heading into the all-important holiday selling season.
“We’re in a better position going into 2019 [holiday] than we’ve ever been before,” Brian Cornell, CEO of the Minneapolis-based retail chain, said at a recent press event. Indeed, once viewed as struggling to compete against larger rivals Walmart and Amazon, Target has been more than holding its own. The 1,800-unit chain has stocked up on toys—it will have 10,000 new and exclusive items in the category—staffed up on personnel—it’s adding $50 million to the holiday payroll this year—and brokered new deals with powerful partners—25 Disney shop-in-shops exist today with 40 more in the works.
All of this is apparent in the marketer’s anthem spot, which is set to a Sam Smith remix of “I Feel Love.” The commercial showcases a cast as diverse as it comes, enjoying some 100 seasonal moments that are jam-packed with products, including a sheepskin table runner, family pajamas and a Frozen 2 castle. Bullseye, the brand’s popular spokespup, is also prominently featured.
Target’s same-store sales, which measures performance at stores open one year or more, have increased 10 percent in the last two years. In the most-recent second quarter, the chain reported a 3.4 percent rise in same-store sales, and revenue of $18.4 billion, 3.6 percent more than the year-earlier period.
Last year, Target spent $136.4 million on measured media in the U.S. in November and December, according to Kantar Media. Along with the main spot, Target will also air 30-and 15-second commercials highlighting delivery services like its drive-up pickup and same-day delivery.
In previous years, Target had worked with celebrities, including Neil Patrick Harris, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, for narrative-driven, episodic campaigns, but in 2018 moved toward the current strategy that focuses on product and inclusivity. The retailer has also had a rotating cast of creative agency partners in recent years. This year, Mother New York handled creative agency and broadcast duties. Last year and in 2017, that credit went to Deutsch L.A.; the two years prior, 72andSunny handled creative. Target tapped Essence for media duties.