VIDEO: Target Readies First Canadian Campaign

What to expect from the long-awaited campaign

Target Canada can’t wait to meet its neighbours and is hoping the feeling is mutual.

The cheap chic retailer is set to make its Canadian debut next month and is whetting consumer appetite with a 60-second television commercial from its creative agency KBS+P.

The national brand spot follows Target’s mascot dog, Bullseye, on a journey across Canada, highlighting local landmarks and touching on a number of cultural nuances along the way.

The spot debuts this Sunday during the Academy Awards broadcast in English Canada and during La Voix in Quebec (see screen shot below).

In one vignette, for instance, we see a group of friends carrying a large tub into a house. This is meant to reflect the Moving Day ritual in Quebec, Livia Zufferli, director of marketing at Target Canada told Marketing.

Bullseye on his cross-country journey

The commercial is an evolution of the social and experiential marketing efforts Target Canada has launched throughout the last year, said Zufferli, who joined the retailer’s marketing department last April.

“The past year, the focus has been getting to know Canadians and getting into Canadian communities,” she said, referring to such efforts as the one-day pop-up store in downtown Toronto with famed Canadian fashion designer Jason Wu.

The company hopes the new marketing platform will continue to convey the sense of excitement that these events have helped generate, she said.

The inspiration behind it is based on the idea that Target Canada is the new neighbour in town. But how does a large retail chain bring this idea to life through a national brand spot?

It borrows one of the most familiar theme songs from one of the most beloved children’s series of all time and hands it over to a Toronto-based electronic band.

Target Canada purchased the rights to the Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood theme song and gave creative licence to Dragonette to give it a unique twist. (Quebec band Alfa Rococo wrote the music and lyrics for the song that appears in the French version of the commercial). Zufferli said it’s the first time the Fred Rogers estate has sold the rights to the song. (The song even has a little-known tie to Canada: According to the CBC’s website, “Fred Rogers came to Canada in 1963 to develop the children’s series Misterogers. It aired on CBC for three seasons as a 15-minute program” before its eventual run on PBS.)

The television commercial is part of a larger integrated campaign that includes out-of-home, social media, radio and newspaper. Carat handled media buying duties.

The OOH creative borrows from the neighbourhood idea, with different versions designed for each market by illustrator Marcos Chin.

In the coming weeks, Target Canada will launch product-focused creative in Ontario. Zufferli said the retailer is cognizant of the fact “Canadians may not be aware of what’s available in store.”

In January, Target Canada announced its exclusive design brands including the Nate Berkus Collection, Sonia Kashuk Collection, Giada De Laurentiis for Target, Shaun White for Target and a limited-time-only collection from Roots.

Other clothing, cosmetic and grocery brands coming to Target Canada include Archer Farms, Market Pantry, Merona, Mossimo Supply Co. and Pixi.

Target Canada expects to open the doors on its first location in March, though a date and location have yet to be announced.

Update: Watch the debut ad here

Videography by Pam Lau

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