Target Puts Value Front and Center in Holiday Campaign

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Target plans to shake up its approach to the Christmas-shopping season with more price advertising, digital promotion and even more attention to the Thanksgiving holiday than in past years. Like all other retailers, the discounter is facing prospects of tentative consumers and with a traditional shopping period that is six days shorter than last year.

But unlike many other retailers, Target’s moves comprise a significant pivot away from its recent emphasis on style over affordability, especially in Christmas ads that have emphasized its trendiness. The chain believes it has lost some lower-income shoppers over the years by focusing on its chic private-label designs rather than the low prices that have continued to be the staple of competitors such as Walmart.

“We think [there] is an opportunity for us this holiday that we are very loud and clear about our value proposition,” said Kathee Tesija, Target’s executive vice president of merchandising, according to the Wall Street Journal.[more]

Target will highlight the prices of specific items in nearly all of the 20 TV ads it is rolling out next week, dubbed #MyKindOfHoliday, the newspaper noted, marking the first time in at least 11 years that Target is splashing dollar figures in its commercials. It also will focus online with several daily-deal discounts of 30 to 50 percent on gifts, toys entertainment and electronics for users of Cartwheel, its mobile-coupon app that has more than two million users, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Also for the first time, the retailer’s ads will feature specials for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a shopping holiday that has become increasingly important for retailers looking to leverage deal-hunting online shoppers. 

What’s more, Target is extending its price-match program against competing brick-and-mortar chains and select online retailers such as Amazon. And it will offer in-store pickup of online purchases at all of its stores to attempt to catch up with such an offering by Walmart and Best Buy.

Target also plans to use early ads to focus on Thanksgiving, a holiday that retailers more and more simply have ignored. “We have never said [before that] Thanksgiving has a place at Target,” Jeff Jones, CMO, told Advertising Age. “It’s a big event, and we think we have a great value proposition when you think about being a one-stop shop [for] food, home and decorating.”

And even with the shortened season, Target is going to resist the temptation to jump the gun on all of this stuff. Last year it ran its first holiday spot in mid-October and got blistered by customers. The 2013 launch will be around November 1, more typical for Target.

“We learned last year,” Jones conceded, that “we just went too soon.”

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