Target Reimagined Michelle Branch's 'Everywhere' Into a Bop About Discovering New Products

CMO Lisa Roath said the retailer wants to connect with consumers 'in more relevant ways'

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Shopping at Target is its own meme. The running joke on social media is that a person will go into Target for one thing and gleefully leave with a host of items they didn’t intend to buy. 

The retailer wants to convey that relatable sentiment in a new marketing campaign, “That Target Feeling,” which depicts the unexpected joy customers can find in its stores. Launching on May 19, the ad resembles a music video, leaning into early-2000s nostalgia while drawing on fans’ real experiences on social media. 

Target’s campaign comes as the brand faces challenges including sluggish sales and the fallout from controversy surrounding its Pride merchandise. Its feel-good marketing is an attempt to “connect with consumers in more distinct, relevant and joyful ways,” chief marketing officer Lisa Roath told ADWEEK.

What exactly is that Target feeling? Roath, who has worked at the company since 2006 and became CMO last year, described it as “the emotional uplift from the ease of getting your needs met but also the unexpected joy of finding something new.” 

The campaign—developed by Target’s in-house creative team, agency Mythology and director Ibra Ake at production company Somesuch—marries two insights mined from social media: the intense love some consumers have for the brand, and the fact that many are “experiencing joy in smaller moments,” said Roath. 

In the video, customers dance and sing in the aisles of a Target store about discovering products including scented candles, plant pots and skin care—all to the catchy tune of Michelle Branch’s 2001 song Everywhere. 

Target chose this track for a couple of reasons. One, the remake of Branch’s hit is good fodder for social media, where the brand has “a super-engaged community,” said Roath. 

Target is the most followed big-box retailer on TikTok, according to social analytics firm Rival IQ, and has over 50 active daily fan accounts. The ad’s vignettes are based on fans’ stories, while the brand will collaborate with influencers and share user-generated content. 

Everywhere is also a peak song from the early 2000s, which is “having a moment on social right now. We want to be part of that,” Roath said. “There’s a reason that consumers are looking to nostalgia for joy and comfort.” 

A challenging landscape

Target’s nostalgic ad is a callback to a particular heyday for the retail industry when people talked about getting “retail therapy” and browsing malls was more commonplace. 

Since then, the retail landscape has vastly changed. As Roath explained, “the modern shopping journey is no longer linear,” which is why the campaign will be reformatted to run across many different channels, including TV, cinemas, out-of-home, audio, online video and social platforms such as TikTok, Meta and Snapchat. 

Ease and affordability will also be key messages throughout its marketing efforts. Like other retailers, Target has been affected by consumers who are cutting spending amid an economic downturn. Its full-year sales declined by 1.7% to $105.8 billion in 2023, while sales at stores open for at least one year fell by 3.7%. 

A question of inclusivity

Last year, Target’s sales were also hit by right-wing backlash to its Pride Month collection. Chief growth officer Christina Hennington said at the time that “the strong reaction to this year’s Pride assortment” impacted sales during the second quarter of 2023. 

This year, Target will limit its Pride-themed merchandise by only selling “adult apparel” and home goods at half of its 2,000 stores and on its website during Pride Month in June. 

Despite some criticism that Target is dialing back on inclusivity with this decision, Roath said the brand “wants to continue representing our guest base.”

“We have a long history of commitment to inclusivity in our campaigns. That carries forward today with this work,” she said. 

Bringing back an icon

Despite these challenges, there have been recent bright spots for the brand. 

Last month, comedian Kristin Wiig reprised her famous Saturday Night Live character, Target Lady, for the retailer’s national campaign. Wiig co-created the spots, which coincided with the promotional event Target Circle Week and promoted its new membership program, Target Circle. 

As a result of the ads, which continue to run, Target saw its “most talked about Circle Week ever on social media,” with three times the amount of mentions and seven times the impressions than its previous most successful Circle Week, according to Roath. 

Going forward, Target will continue to tap into social media and memeable content, with a new series called Tiny Target launching on May 27. Tiny Target will feature a mini talk-show set hosting conversations with influencers and celebrities, including Tabitha Brown and Ashley Tisdale. 

Teammates of Target, another social series that debuted during the Super Bowl, will also release two more episodes. 

All of these recent marketing efforts are part of Roath’s vision to “put forward work that is distinct and relevant,” while “leaning more into culture and humor in everyday moments of joy.” 

Much like Wiig’s popular Target Lady, whose enthusiasm for the brand consumes her, “our guests see Target as a happy space,” said Roath. “What we’ve learned is that we always need to be in close touch with our guest base.”

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