Target set to pop in Toronto with famed designer

February 21, 2012  |  Kristin Laird  |  Comments

A year ahead of its Canadian launch, Target is creating a one-day-only pop-up store with help from well-known fashion designer Jason Wu to give future “guests” a taste of the discount retailer’s brand promise: expect more, pay less.

The event will be held Feb. 23 near Toronto’s fashion district. It will feature the most recent limited-edition collection from Wu, who will be on-hand for the event.

Target will also sell a branded bag created exclusively for the Canadian event. Prices for the collection range from $10 to $45, with all proceeds donated to the United Way of Toronto.

This kind of marketing tactic isn’t new for the chain, which has become synonymous with the phrase “discount chic.” Target has hosted more than 20 pop-up stores across the U.S. (and one in France) since 2002.

Hosting an event in Toronto gives “guests” (what Target calls its customers) a good idea of what to expect when the retailer opens its doors in Canada a year from now, said John Morioka, senior vice-president of merchandising, Target Canada.

The space will be “branded in a Target style manner” and feature a lounge area dedicated to the history of the retailer’s fashion-focused partnerships, said Morioka.

In the past Target has collaborated on apparel lines with designers like Missoni, Anna Sui and the late Alexander McQueen.

“From outside the door to inside the space, we’ve really thought through all of those details to really make it a Target branded experience,” he said.

Morioka has worked with the retailer in the U.S. for over 17 years and moved to Toronto last August to join the Canadian operation, which is headquartered in Mississauga, Ont.

“Bringing a Jason Wu collection to Canada really epitomizes ‘Expect more. Pay less’ by making design affordable to all and accessible to all,” said Morioka. “We think it’s a great way to educate Canadian guests on what they can expect from Target.”

The Jason Wu for Target line was well received and sold out in the U.S. just hours after it went on sale online on Super Bowl Sunday. The Toronto launch on Thursday allows Wu’s Canadian fans to purchase more affordable designs. A Wu designed cocktail dress can sell for as much as $5,000 at the Bay.

“Working with Target has allowed me to reach a much broader audience and I’m so excited that my Canadian fans will have a chance to experience this collection for the first time,” said Wu, in statement.

Morioka said an event for Vancouver is “on the radar,” but the retailer chose to use Toronto first because it’s where Target stores will open first.

Target is using public relations efforts, social media and blogger outreach to promote the event. A billboard will be placed above the King Street space before the event.

To make it more of a nationwide program, bloggers from across the country will be giving away items from the collection.

In July, Target announced it hired MDC Partners to develop its overall marketing efforts in Canada. Integral to the team are KBS+P Canada and Veritas Communications. There will also be support from Northstar Research Partners and Boom Marketing.

In addition, Aegis Group-owned Carat in Toronto will handle media buying duties, while Fresh Intelligence conducts qualitative and quantitative research, focus groups and discussions with Canadian consumers.

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