U.S. APG-ACCOUNT PLANNING AWARDS – The Finalists: Target Stores Too Nice For New York

Target Stores is part of the Dayton Hudson Corp., the fourth-largest general merchandise retailer in the U.S. The chain, which represents 67 percent of Dayton’s revenues, is an upscale discount retailer with 753 stores in 39 states.
Minneapolis-based Target came to Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, because it was about to open its first store in the Northeast. The company was concerned that its culture was vastly different from that of the Northeast, particularly the New York area. Target also knew Wall Street would be paying keen attention to the move.
Our task was to create intrigue, buzz and excitement around the opening of Target in Menlo Park, N.J., thereby driving traffic to the store.
Initial research was conducted among Target loyalists to understand the brand from their perspective. They helped to define how great the Target shopping experience is: Service levels surpass all other discount stores and many department stores; products are high quality; the staff is extremely helpful, knowledgeable and pleasant.
Research was conducted among New York and New Jersey shoppers who represent Target’s core audience but had no prior knowledge of the store. These consumers helped define the shopping experience in their area, which was, by all accounts, extremely negative and characterized by poor service, narrow aisles and long lines.
We concluded two things: The Target brand personality is intrinsically very friendly, unassuming and honest; and smart and politely irreverent shoppers in New York and New Jersey needed a better shopping experience. Target would provide this. We concluded Target loyalists would act as our greatest advocates in spreading the word.
These conclusions led us to our strategic premise–“a shopping oasis,” a beautiful place one seeks out in a desert.
In a perfect position to support this strategic premise, Target had a number of service and product attributes that make it a wholly better shopping experience. Many competitive stores promote service “policies” when they enter a market, but Target upholds them. It also has an amazing variety of quality products, many of which people can’t believe they can get in a discount store.
The strategic premise led to the creative idea, which we termed “Too nice for New York.” The juxtaposition between the stereotypical New York/New Jersey shopping experience and the “niceness” of Target provided a superb platform for the creative work to demonstrate how (and why) a better shopping experience was coming to the area.
The store opened March 9, so we created two teaser ads that ran for six days prior to the opening. The objective was to deliberately tease those who didn’t know of Target and to create buzz among Target loyalists. Also, five commercials were created to air for six weeks after the opening of the store.
The following points formed the basis for the commercials: no line with more than two people and all customers are guests.
“Sales for Target, Menlo Park, in its opening week placed it as the top store,” said Bob Thacker, vice president of marketing at Target. “Since that week, it has remained in the top-five stores saleswise. This makes it the most successful store opening ever.”

Eric Erickson, Mgr., Creative Direction
Minda Gralnek, Dir., Fashion Creative
Joan Hanson, Media Supervisor
Bob Thacker, VP, Marketing

Tom Christmann, Copywriter
Jeff Curry, Art Dir.
Brendan Donovan, Assoc. Creative Dir.
Michelle Fares, Account Exec.
Bob Havlena, Copywriter
Tom Kuntz, Art Dir.
Mike Maguire, Copywriter
Donna Murphy, Account Dir.
Hope Newman, Art Dir.
Iain Newton, Sr. Brand Planner
Bill Oberlander, Executive Creative Dir.