LOS ANGELES-Discovery Channel has signed a deal with Dayton Hudson for the latter's Target Stores chain to be the exclusive mass retailer of its line of exploration toys. The agreement comes as the cable network looks for a wider audience for products that have sold well at specialty chains and its own branded stores.
The toys, which range from realistic plush in info-packed boxes and puzzles to telescopes and crystal-making kits, will begin rolling out this summer, with store-within-a-store concepts likely, gathering up other Discovery-licensed merchandise.
"Our consumer isn't just the person shopping in Tiffany's," said Robin Sayetta, Discovery's vice president of merchandising and promotion licensing. "Target has a very similar demo to our viewer."
The deal is the latest coup for Minneapolis-based retailer Target, which has brought an air of class to mass marketing by aligning with brands-such as designer/architect Michael Graves for a proprietary line of housewares and Calphalon for Kitchen Essentials-that travel in more upscale circles.
"I think it says a great deal about the perception of Target as a retail partner today," said Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail, New York. "With an exclusive line, the tendency is to go with the biggest, but Discovery Channel chose a partner that has an image that's in keeping with its brand-the same kind of quality brand message."
Some Discovery merchandise was tested to brisk sales at Target early this year without marketing.