Target's Black Friday Spots Hit Web Paydirt

Polarizing but Effective, Maria Bamford Spots Generate Spoofs, Views

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NEW YORK ( -- Target came out swinging with its Black Friday effort this year. For the second year, it's tapped comedian Maria Bamford, who has ties to Target 's hometown of Minneapolis. Agency Wieden & Kennedy produced 10 15- and 30-second spots to promote the discounter's two-day sale, and they ran between Nov. 17 and Nov. 27. Those TV spots and other original clips --20 in all-- also worked pretty well on the web, and the campaign landed on the Viral Chart last week at No. 2.

Ms. Bamford, as an overly passionate, hyped-up holiday shopper, prepares in Rocky-esque fashion for the holidays. She wraps gifts while consulting a stop watch, does bicep curls with a shopping basket and sprints down Target 's aisles. In one spot she lays in bed covered in alarm clocks, intent on not sleeping in and missing Target 's 4 a.m. opening. Depending on your point of view, the spots are either incredibly annoying or completely hilarious.

And that's the point. In an interview with Ad Age this fall, Michael Francis, Target 's chief marketing officer, admitted that the spots could be polarizing. A year ago, they were heavier on dialogue and story line. This year, Mr. Francis says Target let Ms. Bamford "revel in the character of the passionate holiday shopper. ... It's fun exaggerating those manic shopper tendencies."

That strategy appears to be working, in part due to the proliferation of derivative spoofs. One of the more popular videos shows a woman bench pressing her baby and pushing a stroller through a Target parking lot while pulling a man in a shopping cart.

No. 1 on the chart this week is a Google campaign with Hyundai, which is a testament to the promotional power of YouTube. The spot took residence on the YouTube home page last week, where it drew 1.2 million of its more than 2.3 million views.

Last Week Brand Campaign Agency Current Week Views* % Change in Views** Watch the Spot
1 Back on Chart Hyundai & YouTube YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 N/A 2,333,000 Back on Chart Hyundai & YouTube: YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011
2 New Target 2-Day Sale 2010 Wieden & Kennedy 1,660,018 New Target  : 2-Day Sale 2010
3 Back on Chart Nike LeBron Rise Wieden & Kennedy 1,493,497 Back on Chart Nike: LeBron Rise
4 1 Red Bull Way Back Home N/A 1,437,203 -11% Red Bull: Way Back Home
5 3 Axe Clean Your Balls BBH 1,433,243 +43% Axe: Clean Your Balls
6 Back on Chart Adidas Fast Don't Lie 180 942,499 Back on Chart Adidas: Fast Don't Lie
7 4 Evian Live Young BETC Euro RSCG 926,101 +7% Evian: Live Young
8 2 T-Mobile Welcome Back Saatchi & Saatchi 803,287 -23% T-Mobile: Welcome Back
9 7 DC Shoes Gymkhana Three In-house 717,935 -1% DC Shoes: Gymkhana Three
10 6 Blendtec Will It Blend? In-house 709,903 -2% Blendtec: Will it Blend?
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