Target

Targeting STORY.

Just in time for the Thanksgiving / Christmas season New York concept store STORY has teamed up with big box retailer Target to create a curated holiday gift shop that features carefully crafted items designed to fit an eclectic group of needs. Brand consultant Rachel Shechtman founder of STORY refreshes the store design and the merchandise inside every 4 to 8 weeks, a fairly aggressive schedule for a store overhaul, and the current theme is “Home for the Holidays”.

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To achieve the latest design and product offering Shechtman worked hand-in-hand with the team at Target to create the store look and feel. “Home for the Holidays” features a curated gift guide that is set inside an environment designed to feel like a home. The current theme will be up and running until January 4th 2015.

Working  with the direction of interior designer Jason Bell, STORY, has transformed their 2,000-square-foot space into a mountain retreat. Each section of the store is designed to offer products for the gift recipient. There is a fur-lined section for her that even has a bathtub, a rustic patio with gift ideas for him. A modern living room with a fireplace furnished by HearthCabinet Decorative Fireplaces for entire family.

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Inspired by an image of Aerin Lauder’s Aspen ski lodge, they drew inspiration for the fit and finishes of the space. Wood, stone, create texture and an open airy feeling within the space. Local artists Nick Bakita and Matthew G. Wells created a mountain range installation of wood to anchor the back wall.

By partnering with Target, STORY was able to leverage Target’s favorite private label offerings from Archer Farms, and Target exclusive items from designers like Nate Berkus. The two hundred products STORY is featuring were hand picked directly from the Target headquarters and offer New York shoppers a something for everyone gift assortment from over 100 brands.

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STORY’s curated  collection features has a focus on Made in America items this year capitalizing on this hot trend with buyers. The store is showing Faribault Woolen Mills, Merona, TOMS for Target collection, and a variety other items including gourmet food items from Vosges, hand crafted and embroidered items from Coral and Tusk, and beauty items from Birch Box.

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PMH TV Spots for JCPenny. Americana Updated.

If you have been lucky enough to catch any of the TV spots for JCPenny in the last week or so, you might have noticed a similarity to Target ads. That design minded aesthetic is something that PMH was known for in the direction of the ads they styled for the Target brand.

Directed by MJZ’s Rocky Morton, the new suite of TV spots for JCPenny have clean, colorful well designed look, that are humorous, and at times bordering on cute. There is nothing wrong with that. The spots work fusing great visuals, editing, and copy writing to complete the set.

I hope these ads are as successful for JCPenny as the ads PMH produced for Target were. JCPenny, like other established retail giants (Sears in particular) have felt a pinch from newer rivals like Khols over the last few years as brand perceptions have shifted about the quality of their product, store fronts, and price points.

In addition to the “Fair and Square” campaign that the previous spots support, JCPenny is launching another spot for February directed by Grand Large’s Gaysorn Thavat. This spot features Billie Holiday’s 1937 recording of Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,”as the soundtrack and tries to establish that feeling of modern-day Americana, which is what JCPenny is something that this entire series of ads does with with technicolor punch, and a bit of whimsy. Personally I think these are the best TV spots JCPenny has released in years.

 

Tronic’s Interactive Walls for Target and Marriot.

One of the things that sucks about traveling, id being stuck in an airport that offers nothing to do except wait for a charging station to open up, or a way to clog your veins with fat filled goodness from Sbarro or some other god awful fast food joint. One thing that is true, airports are an environment that is ripe with opportunity for advertisers to take advantage of, if they choose a compelling and unique way to deliver their advertising content.

I have been interested in interactive walls, and projected interactive media for some time now, and I think this execution from Tronic for Xerox and Target are spot on examples of how great this medium could be.

Working in partnership with Young and Rubicam New York, Tronic designed and produced two interactive, live action productions for Target and Marriot Hotels. Both segments were created to promote the Xerox business-to-business campaign that launched in September of this year. The two productions run in rotation on life-sized, nine-screen interactive video walls at Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and nine other airports in the United States.

Tronic is known for its ability to blend digital and physical media in unique ways, and this campaign showcases the way Tronic was able to create a new form of advertising that mixes gesture based interactivity with live action commercials. What works really well here is how the advertising is no longer a passive experience, but instead how it is now disrupt and interactive. How a standard commercial has transformed itself into something that is actually fun and offers an almost game like experience.

Thanksgiving Has Become a Speed Bump

There used to be this holiday in the United States called “Thanks Giving”. It was kind of a big deal. There was the build up to the big day, the dinner with family, sitting around watching football, and yes it was the kick off to the Christmas Holiday season.

Over the last few years things have begun to change though. Store now have Christmas decorations up at the beginning of October. The holiday season has shifted and is now Halloween and Christmas with Thanksgiving feeling like a speed bump in between. And this year Thanksgiving got pushed aside just a little bit more with a number of major retailers announcing that “Black Friday” shopping sales would begin on October 29. I’m sorry, I think it sucks.

I know the economy is down, and that retail sales for Christmas are once again on target to be off for the 2010 season, but seriously it isn’t even Halloween yet. The New York Times is reporting that retailers including Sears, Wal-Mart and Target are offering big promotions to lure shoppers before  well before Thanksgiving. Sears started its “Black Friday Now” deals on Friday the 28th, and Toys R Us is putting all the items in its Christmas toy book on sale starting on Sunday the 31st, the newspaper reports.

I want Thanksgiving back. I miss it. The holiday is about giving thanks, being grateful for what you have, and giving to those in need. There is something really wonderful about the fact that it is this non-consumerism based holiday. Yes I know people spend a ton of money on food , but the heart of the experience used center around family, friends, community and being truly thankful for what you have.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the rush to Christmas shopping was slowed, and the 4 weeks between Halloween and the third Thursday in November actually felt like a build up to something awesome; instead of a build up to the day things go on sale for Christmas? I think this year I am skipping sending Christmas cards and I’m going to send Happy Thanksgiving cards instead. That is if I can even find any amongst the piles o Christmas cards that have been on store shelves for weeks now.

The thing that is really sad is, if you ask people what the history of Thanksgiving is, what is supposed to really be about, most people can’t tell you.

Target’s Amazing Gift Cards

I love the incredible detail in the illustrations used on the “Winter Fishing Hole Game” Gift Card from Target. This is truly one of the coolest gift card ideas I have seen in a while, and once again it shows Target’s commitment to good design, and clever product ideas. Other companies should take note and follow their lead. They consistently take chances that pay off and this is a prime example.

The illustration and design is by brothers, Don and Ryan Clark, of Invisible Creatures. They do some really nice posters, design and illustration work.

The gift card is re-loadable with denominations up to $1000.00.  This is a limited edition collectible gift card game, but I noticed that it is still available on the Target website. It features a full board game as the card with spinning number wheel, 4 game pieces (polar bear, penguin, raccoon, and some winter animal), so up to 4 people can play a snakes and ladders type game. It is still mint on the backing with the scratch part in tact on the back.