Bullseye, Target's black-and-white dog mascot, isn't a contestant on NBC's singing contest "The Voice," but the marketer paid for the pup to appear in ads with the show's eight finalists during Monday's episode.
The four 30-second commercials show pairs of contestants singing holiday classics before Bullseye closes things out with a bark from a judge's chair.
It's not the first time Target has tried to catch viewers' attention with commercials that integrate the surrounding programming. In November 2012, Target and Nieman Marcus tapped the actors, writers and even set designers from ABC's "Revenge" to fill an episode's breaks with ads emulating the show. Since then, brands have often turned to live programming to further combat ad-skipping, and Target has run commercials featuring live music performances during the Grammys.
Earlier this fall, the retailer ran commercials during "The Voice" in which former contestants wore Target apparel.
Target, which spent $148.3 million on measured media in the U.S. last November and December, according to Kantar Media, has said this holiday season represents a chance to further engage different demographics in its marketing, including families without children.
"We strategically chose 'The Voice' as a key partner because of its popularity with a wide variety of audiences," explains Rick Gomez, chief marketing officer and executive VP at Target. Target is the only national retailer within the episode, he adds. "Our custom content will seamlessly integrate with the show's mashup theme, providing a rich experience for viewers."
Last year, Target's sales in the fourth quarter slipped by 4.3 percent to $20.7 billion. Target sales increased 1.4 percent to $16.7 billion in the third quarter of this year; comparable sales, online and at stores open for at least a year, increased 0.9 percent in the quarter.
The "Voice" ads are part of Target's "Together's the Joy" holiday campaign by Deutsch L.A. They're also part of the Minneapolis-based retailer's recently announced deal with NBC Universal to be the first customer for the media conglomerate's self-serve programmatic platform to buy ads in traditional, national TV, according to a Target spokeswoman.
GroupM's Essence handled media duties for the new work.