C’mon, Target. THINK!

April 8, 2010

Admittedly, I love Target as a brand. I admire that they’ve taken a category that’s mostly been about penny-pinching and created advertising that’s basically fashion ads. Discount brand becomes fashion brand? Brilliant.

However, one of my students brought up an interesting point during a class we had with our VP of Media Planning. She said that she won’t shop at Target anymore because she can’t STAND their incessant advertising during the Discovery series “Life.”

Personally, I haven’t seen the show, but she said it’s very much like “Planet Earth.” Except… whenever the show is ready to cut to commercial, the program actually dissolves to the Target logo and then the viewer is inundated with Target ads. During every pod of ads.

Initially, she brought this up because we were talking about wear-out. How many times can a viewer see an ad before they puke on their shoes?

She said it wasn’t so much a problem of wear-out, but more a problem of Target being the wrong brand for “Life.” Yes… being green and caring about the earth is very trendy. And Target, as a fashion brand, is all about being trendy. But… they’re a fashion brand. Not a green brand. She felt that GE Eco-magination or even Tom’s of Maine would have been a more appropriate sponsor. And she wouldn’t feel like the advertising was so out of place.

I tend to wonder if there’s an even larger subliminal issue at hand. Target, as iconic as it is, has an extremely iconic logo. A. Giant. Red. Target.

My feeling about show sponsorship (and yes, I’m in creative… not media) is that if you can’t slap your logo over images of the show and feel like it’s a good match… then it’s probably a bad match.

Let’s see what happens when you slap Target’s iconic logo over the tree-hugging, awe-inspiring images of “Life”:

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Anyone else see an inherent problem here?

Good thing they didn’t sponsor “Planet Earth” or a documentary about JFK.

The fact is, at its core, Target is a fashion brand. I give them props for trying to support something educational and earth-friendly… but… when I close my eyes and associate their branding with endangered species and cute little animals… I just want to, well… puke on my shoes.


2 Responses to “C’mon, Target. THINK!”

  1. Cindy said

    Actually Target has long been working on green initiatives, long before it was trendy. (I for one appreciate the fact that the Target I frequent was one of the first green Targets.)


    I suppose if you are basing your opinion solely on advertising, I can understand why you would consider it a fashion brand.

    However the essence of any brand is far deeper than the advertising. Target has done a great job of creating a brand with a loyal following and if you look at what they stand for beyond fashion and advertising, you would see that the sponsorship of Life isn’t really a stretch.

  2. I agree. I know they make positive efforts in various capacities… Our concern was in the media planning. They could have done fewer repetitions of their ads and not dissolved from the content to their logo… There are many other ways to show sponsorship of a program other than the way they chose to.

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