- Target introduced its new holiday campaign, "Gather Round," which includes a series of colorful, cheerful commercials featuring a new song from pop star Sia, according to AdAge. In a significant jump from last year in the volume of ads, the retailer began airing 20 English-language and 18 Spanish-language spots on Nov. 1, and the ads do not include a continuous theme.
- The ads will include messaging informing shoppers how easy it is to shop at Target and the retailer is a moving away from a strict media plan towards a more flexible approach that will allow it to adjust the holiday campaign on a daily basis. The campaign includes social media and print content and media partnerships with PopSugar, Univision and Refinery29. Target's in-house agency Target Creative worked with Deutsch LA on the campaign, along with Knock, LatinWorks and Essence.
- Target is also unveiling mobile checkout at stores nationwide, giving shoppers the ability to skip the line, a news release announced. Team members will use handheld devices to scan items and accept credit card payments from anywhere in the store. In a first, Target will also be offering free two-day shipping Nov. 1 through Dec. 22.
Target is heading into the holiday shopping season on solid footing and hopes to build on it with a new marketing approach, a bigger ad spend and — in the expectation that ads will drive shoppers into stores — by providing in-store convenience via mobile. The company posted a 6.5% increase in same-store sales for Q2 2018, its strongest performance in 13 years, according to AdAge. Revenue grew 7% over the previous year to $17.8 billion, which included a 41% increase in digital sales.
Target is taking a more flexible approach for its holiday campaign this year by ditching the storyline approach. With the campaign appearing across a number of channels, this could make it easier for Target to continuously optimize the campaign by channel and creative throughout the holiday season. In past years, the retailer used celebrity-filled musicals and heartwarming themes. Last year's campaign included 10 spots showing a group of kids brightening up a house for the holidays.
At the same time, Target is doubling the number of spots, underscoring the importance of the holiday season to big box retailers and that Target may see an opportunity to gain ground with toy shoppers in the wake of the exit of Toys R Us. Target spent $156.6 million on measured media in the U.S. during November and December in 2017, according to Kantar Media, and is increasing its 2018 holiday marketing budget by a mid-single digit percentage, per the AdAge report.
Target is leveraging its large physical footprint via its stores and elevating the shopping experience to attract tech-savvy shoppers as it looks to compete with Amazon. The introduction introduction of in-store mobile checkout follows on the heels of Walmart launching a similar service and builds on Target's previous efforts to enhance in-store shopping through technology. Last year, the retailer began allowing team members to place Target.com orders for guests directly from the sales floor and have purchases shipped to their homes
Target is also offering same-day delivery from Shipt and same-day in-store pickup, along with expanding its curbside order pickup.
Offering more tech-focused shopping experiences could help the retailer appeal to millennials and Gen Zers, who enjoy blending in-store and online shopping. Millennials expect retailers to provide fast, convenient shopping experiences, with 47% saying they buy online and pick up in-store more than 40% of the time compared to 30% of Gen Xers and 14% of baby boomers, according to a report by Euclid. Among Gen Zers, 80% say they look forward to shopping in stores when they have time, but 75% prefer to shop online out of convenience, according to Criteo research.