Cannes Lions

TARGET LOVES CANADA

VERITAS COMMUNICATIONS, Toronto / TARGET / 2013

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Overview

Description

In 2011, Target, one of the USA's leading retailers, chose Canada to be the first country outside

the United States for expansion – and chose our agency to be its Canadian public

relations partner.

We developed and executed a public relations plan that would lead

Target's Canadian brand-building efforts – both consumer-facing and for human resources

recruitment to support the hiring of 27,000 employees across the country and overseas (for call

centre support).

With no supplemental brand engagement opportunities through e-commerce (Target's online

retail – would not be operational until after store openings), We took a lead role in

collaborating with other agencies and internal partners to created a series of experiential

executions we dubbed 'A Taste of Target' to generate positive media coverage, online

conversation and word-of-mouth.

To mitigate strongly held negative perceptions by Canadians about previous U.S.-based retail

expansion into the country, the plan was rooted in a 'humble and authentic' approach to

demonstrate that Target was genuinely interested in getting to know – and love – its northern

neighbours.

From a one-day pop-up store in downtown Toronto showcasing Canadian-born designer Jason

Wu's latest limited-edition designs, to 'Bullseye Beach' events across the country featuring

beach volleyball and sandcastle competitions, to the Target Hotel offering filmmakers and

celebrities an oasis away from the hubbub of the world's second largest film festival, to the 'Give

With Target' CSR initiative that let Canadians determine how to allocate $1 million in

philanthropic funding, 'A Taste of Target' exceeded objectives and is now a global template for

future expansion.

Execution

Target invented the pop-up store; we made it Canadian, visually branding a one-day store

with striking 'Target Loves Canada' iconography and featuring the newest design partnership

with Canadian-raised Jason Wu (who had recently generated global buzz with his outfits for

Michelle Obama). The Toronto pop-up was literally lined up around the block; buzz was

extended across the country through giveaway promotions with top style bloggers in each

province.

'Beach' events held across the country reflected Target's understanding of Canadians' love of

fun in the summer sun.

'Target Hotel' at the Toronto International Film Festival, fully outfitted with Target products, gave

film industry players a place to relax with stars from Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC.

'Holiday' events across Canada featured hometown national music stars and free Starbucks

coffee and hot chocolate.

'Give with Target' let Canadians decide how to allocate $1 million in CSR funding in communities

across the country.

Outcome

Awareness of Target's impending arrival among Canadians grew to 92 per cent following

execution of the 'Taste of Target' campaign – a 20 percentage-point increase from the

pre-campaign level.

750 million media impressions were generated, with highest favourability reaching 94 per cent –

a 16 percentage-point increase.

8,000 Canadians participated in the 'Give with Target' CSR initiative and 12,346,308 media

impressions were generated. The $1 million in funding was fully allocated to worthy initiatives in

three days.

Staff recruitmen

t goals of 650 Canadian head office employees and 5,000 retail team members

in southern Ontario were achieved ahead of schedule; goal of 27,000 hires by fall of 2013 is on

track.

Labour movement opposition has not impacted on hiring, nor on Canadians' intention to shop at

Target stores or favourability toward Target.

Our 'Taste of Target' strategy and execution led to Target being named 'Pre-Brand of the

Year' in Strategy Magazine's 2012 Brands of the Year issue.

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