London calls Target to showcase brand promise

To understand what makes Target cool look no further than the Olympics.

Target doesn’t have any stores in London, the United Kingdom or Europe. Its first international stores won’t open until next year and those are located in Canada.
Nevertheless, Target opted to spend a portion of its marketing budget on a brand building exercise along the South Bank of the Thames River not far from various Olympic venues. The company rented Bernie Spain Gardens and used the location to give away 25,000 products from something called a “Target Go-Tube,” a 19-foot-long by 9-foot-high cylinder with the Bullseye logo on each end. The park also features a lounge where people can rest, play bocce and croquet, recharge electric devices or share photos via Facebook and Twitter.

“We’re always trying to do something unexpected, and we felt this would be something unexpected - to go follow our best guests and customers and provide something [in London] that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Target’s director of strategic partnerships, lifestyle marketing and events, Dan Griffis, was quoted as saying in the publication Street & Smyth’s Sports Business. “We felt a lot of our guests would be in London this summer.”

The Target Park concept is a clever idea, and one that seems uniquely appropriate for the Target brand. However, it does seem a stretch to believe very many of even the retailer’s “best guests,” let alone typical customers, have the financial resources to attend an Olympic Games being held in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Published report indicate the marketing effort is the second time Target has sought to affiliate itself with the Olympics. In 2006, when the Winter Olympic were held in Torino, Italy the company applied its logo to trains used to shuttle people to skiing and snowboard events.