Target pushes the envelope

Carole Sloan, August 26, 2002

Talk about migrating brands!

Looking at what Target Corp. is doing would drive anyone involved in brand analysis completely off the wall. That said, it is a program marked by sheer genius.

Let's take some of the recent migrations, one at a time.

First we have the Target brand, noted for years as a marketing icon that breaks all barriers. Well this time they did it — beyond barriers.

A recent issue of Architectural Digest, the home publication that induces nosebleeds from the level of fine French furniture and antiques of priceless dollars and vetted origin, sported a Target multi-page ad.

And for the first time, the Target icon was featured in blue, rather than its normal red. The ad was headlined in typical tongue in cheek fashion — " 'Just look what I bring to the table,' " she boasted. "Saucily." And the visuals were an array of Michael Graves Design Collection furniture pieces from $19.99 to $89.99 against an array of cups and saucers — just right for the nanny's room. The ad also was a tie-in with the "Fashion Targets Breast Cancer" event.

Then we're treated to a new Marshall Field's Direct catalog, which but for the famed trademark Field's Frango's candy offers little that would distinguish the merchandise selection from that of the direct marketer that is another Target business.

There's nothing from home or apparel that would distinguish Field's product from Target or Mervyn's. But that's been life in the department store division for some time.

Then there is the marketing adventure that should really set the Ralph and Donna police on red alert.

It's part of a corporate Internet adventure that brings together all divisions — and adds in Amazon, one of its partners.

On a Website page that features Target, Mervyn's, Marshall Field's and amazon.com, one can read all about Target's exclusive Waverly Garden, Royal Legacy towels, and more; one also can click on to Ralph Lauren at Field's.

On yet another page, Target is promoting "Sleep in Beauty," with Barbie, Waverly 200-count sheet sets and bed in a bag. On the same page, one can click on to Field's Donna Karan collection.

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