Lessons from Target

By Sarah Major

Canadians are buzzing about Target stores finally opening north of the border.  From my unofficial polls, I would say most are looking forward to the infamous ‘Tar-jay’ opening its doors here.  And why not, the retailer is known for a great selection of cheap-chic merchandise.  Will they be able to offer Canada prices as low as the US?  Likely not, but in a market where our population doesn’t support the proliferation of choice our American friends have at their disposal, any new retail outlet is generally welcomed with open arms.

Given we are such a welcoming market it is particularly impressive to see the effort Target is putting into launching their brand here in Canada.  I personally have been anticipating their arrival ever since my local Zellers store was draped in ‘Target Loves Canada’ banners; what a nice touch!  And of course, no US advertising adaptations here – Target created a very Canadian launch spot for this market.  The commercial is bursting with Canadian pride and includes typical imagery such as totem poles, green space, hockey and gorgeous coast shots.  Kudos as well for taking a spot aimed at an entire country and celebrating local neighbourhoods such as the Quebec Boulangerie or an East coast fishing village.  The standard Canadian iconography feels fresh and up to date when paired with a funky rendition of Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood sung by Canadian band Dragonette.  With all that Canadiana they are still able to communicate their upscale brand imagery with a stylish woman on a bright red motorcycle making the trip across Canada with the brands mascot Bullseye (and we all know what dogs do for advertising!).

With recent research touting 92 percent brand awareness, Target certainly didn’t need to be so neighbourly but we’re certainly glad they did.  Welcome to the neighbourhood!