I like shopping in Target, not as much as Costco, but more than WalMart. Their stores are easy to shop, with good merchandise at fair prices, and they do a lot of good for the local communities where they do business. Historically their marketing hasn’t been overly ‘breakthrough” to me personally, though an upcoming effort focused on parents of babies caught my eye.Target’s previous ads had been more “idealistic”, showing beautiful people in beautiful settings, not unlike many marketers. But their new campaign, based on market research with REAL parents, focuses more on “realistic” moments and situations that are more commonly experienced by parents in their everyday lives. Guess they figure these ads will better relate not only to mom, but also to others that interact with babies – dads, grandparents and siblings – and more importantly, at least for Target, buy products for the babies in their lives. Gee, what a novel idea once again – talking to real people in a voice that relates to them. It’s certainly not unique, but is an approach that has the potential for not only strong sales, and but also long term engagement.
Another aspect of their program, designed specifically to engage new parents and generate awareness of Target’s baby business, is a high-tech spin on an old idea, mixed in with a tablespoon of social media. Called the Big Baby Billboard, consumers can create customized baby announcements on the Target Baby Facebook page, share with friends and family, and submit them to be randomly selected to be featured on either Times Square electronic billboards or a giant sign in Hollywood. The announcements will be featured this week, and will rotate/change often to maximize the number of participants.
It’s still too early to tell how successful this effort will be. The Target Baby Facebook page has less than 9,000 Likes, compared with over 3.5MM for the general Target page. But the Big Baby Billboard has generated lots of press coverage to reach their target audience. And if I were having a new baby, I would be attracted to their real life based approach. Target gets a W.T.F.*: WINNER award from me for this one.