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Is This Retail Brand on Target?November - 2015


Target announced today it will be closing another 13 stores.  Ironically, a year ago to the day, ADWEEK posed the question to industry executives: “Should Target put #AlexFromTarget in an ad campaign?”

In case you don’t know Alex, he’s a handsome Texas high school student and Target employee who became a viral sensation last week when a female teenage admirer snapped a candid photo of him bagging groceries and posted it on Twitter. The image quickly sparked an unexpected meme-filled craze and made #AlexFromTarget an instant Internet celebrity.

Has Alex created good brand publicity for Target? Absolutely. Has Target managed the social media frenzy well? Yes. Is Alex enjoying his fame? Most likely. But should Alex be in an ad campaign? Well, not so fast.

Consider, even with Target’s advertising budget over $1 Billion:

  • Comparable sales are down 0.2%
  • U.S. stores are drawing fewer shoppers
  • Stock price has been relatively flat
  • The company’s recent data breach is still fresh on the minds of many of the nearly 70 million consumers affected

So, instead of inquiring about a short-term #AlexFromTarget ad, the real question ADWEEK should be asking ad executives is “how can Target use brand to grow sustained bottom-line and customer experience improvement?”

What ADWEEK and the ad industry need to understand is we have to think beyond short-term marketing tactics and campaigns to better serve our customers and connect with consumers. Brand can be a powerful tool, but it must be bigger than ads.

We suspect that Target understands this, but we wonder, does ADWEEK?


Photo Credits: Image #1 Twitter @Fortune. Image #2 Twitter: @goldilocks


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