Mickey Mouse is out but Bullseye is in. Target will be presenting at IAB's Digital Content NewFronts for the first time this year on May 2, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based retail chain confirmed on Friday.
Target plans to make a "big" announcement at the NewFronts, according to an email sent out to agencies and obtained by Ad Age. It goes on to say the event will be "spectacular."
A Target spokesman initially declined to share details about the May event, but later noted it will be an update to an existing business venture.
Target's participation comes days after Walt Disney announced it was pulling out of its April 30 NewFronts presentation. Instead, after acquiring 21st Century Fox assets, the entertainment giant will host an upfront show on May 14.
One agency executive expects Target will make an announcement in the form of original programming. The executive also says it's possible they will announce an acquisition. "The space is way too cluttered," the executive says.
Target has been here before with their video-on-demand digital entertainment service "Target Ticket," Anthony Koziarski, chief media officer, PHD, said in an email. "Every expectation is that while the content strategy is unclear, this new launch will be better positioned to leverage their Target customer data for connected monetization."
Target's data capabilities will also likely be a focus.
"Target recognizes the value of its customer data and is taking back control of how it is monetized," Koziarski said.
Target joins the NewFronts lineup along with Walmart, which will also host its first dog-and-pony show on May 1, highlighting its Vudu streaming service. Vudu plans to debut a remake of "Mr. Mom." It has also discussed plans to introduce shoppable ads. Walmart had originally intended to launch a new streaming service, but the retail giant has reportedly scrapped that initiative.
In recent years, Target has been building up its brand in a variety of ways, even as it adds to its stable of private-label offerings with products in multiple categories of retail, including three recently debuted lingerie lines. Target has also been tweaking its ad strategy--last month, the marketer sat out of the Grammy Awards after being a top advertiser in recent years.
Target has also been expanding its relationship with vendors as a media agency. The retailer's Target Media Network uses Target shopper data to customize ads with relevant content and special promotions for brands like Dyson. Target has been expanding its media offerings for outside vendors who don't sell on its shelves. Last fall, Target said its media network has seen year-over-year revenue growth in the 40 percent range in recent years.
In addition, this year, Target expanded its e-commerce offerings with Target+, an online marketplace, not unlike Amazon, that includes products from third-party sellers in categories like running shoes and outdoor décor.
Two years ago, the company said it would invest in improving its stores and product offerings and that strategy has been panning out for the brand. In the most recent fourth quarter, Target saw comparable store sales, for both digital and brick-and-mortar, increase 5.3 percent.
Contributing: Jeanine Poggi
Update: A Target spokesman says the company will present an update to an existing business venture.