Is it me, or does the new Target “Fresh” advertising campaign leave you feeling a little flat? I have walked by countless ads in subway stations, and driven by billboards on the BQE and West Side Highway, and for the life of me, I just can’t get over how bad they are.
Let me clarify: By other brand standards, these ads would be fine – vast improvements, perhaps. They feature beautiful photography, Target’s trademark use of white space, and clean messaging. But because I have such high expectations for Target’s campaigns (and also because I am a copywriter by trade), I’ve been hypercritical about what I’m seeing. I guess my criticism says a lot about Target. How many brands consistently put out award-winning advertising campaigns, ones that make you want to immediately run out to the store and buy the latest products and capsule collections (see my past blog, “Missoni Madness”)? The fact that they consistently inspire such excitement in consumers is precisely what makes me wish they’d tried a little harder with these ads.
But let me give you a little history. Target launched the campaign in 2010, keeping some of the copy lines universal while customizing others for specific cities, as Target started offering fresh food in their stores there.
The fresh campaign hit the New York metropolitan area this summer, and suddenly it seems like it is everywhere. The general lines, such as “Get ready, Get fresh” (or sometimes just, “Fresh”) are okay, but certainly not up to par with what I’ve come to expect from Target. And some of the more specific lines – like the one on a billboard on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that reads, “From the Sound to the Bay” left me perplexed for hours. What exactly does that mean? Clearly they are not insinuating that bananas and spinach come from the Long Island Sound?
“Cut ‘em some slack,” you’re probably saying right about now. But my ranting is really just a word of warning to Target. Part of the reason why the Fresh campaign is on my radar in the first place is because of the terrific work CBX has done this year with Duane Reade and Walgreen’s, both of which have already ramped up their fresh offerings. So while Target has been a big box leader for many years, I think the retailer will likely need to look over its shoulder a little more frequently now that drugstores are infringing on their territory. In the meantime, I will keep my eyes peeled for its holiday advertising campaign, which is almost guaranteed to be awesome.