The A-List: Target

Natural born storytellers reel in national brands with humour, humanity and fresh ideas
“Stay Curious” is the latest chapter in Target’s much-awarded “Find Yourself” campaign for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. After 16 years of off-kilter storytelling, the campaign has become one of the most successful tourism positioning and advertising programs in North America. During the pandemic the message is to “Stay curious everyone, and visit when it’s safe.”

After 16 years of off-kilter advertising, the latest chapter in Target’s much-awarded “Find Yourself” campaign for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, one of the most successful tourism programs in North America, told locked-down audiences to “Stay curious, and visit when it’s safe.”

Account planning pioneer Stephen King had a rule for successful advertising: it must have a combination of sensory, rational and emotional appeal.

Target’s long-running “Find Yourself” campaign for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism has all three: the sensory appeal of Newfoundland’s dramatic coastline and colourful architecture; the rational appeal that makes you ask, “What am I waiting for?”; and the emotional appeal of its famous humour and humanity. These powerful ingredients have won the campaign 400 awards since 2005.

To launch Crooked Dory cannabis, Target mounted an actual dory on a blank billboard. One week later, it posted the “Sailor” headline. Social media lit up with banter, memes, and TikTok videos (with 360,000 followers). Result? Line-ups, and all SKUs selling out in five days

To launch Crooked Dory cannabis, Target mounted an actual dory on a blank billboard. One week later, it posted the “Sailor” headline. Social media lit up with banter, memes, and TikTok videos (with 360,000 followers). Result? Line ups, and all SKUs selling out in five days

Target remains proudly rooted in Newfoundland. Fiercely independent, it avoids the well-worn path of other agencies that start out regional, relocate to Toronto or New York, and sell out to multinationals. “We still report to nobody but our moms,” says Noel O’Dea, who founded the shop in 1980.

“Newfoundland itself is our secret ingredient, our most powerful differentiator,” says O’Dea. “We can see things differently here. And that changes how we think and how we go about solving clients’ problems.” Over the past 40 years, that unique point of view has attracted clients such as Unilever, Maple Leaf Foods, Rogers, Bell, Molson, Labatt, and Air Canada brands Tango, Zip and Jazz.

Target may be small and nimble, but it’s plugged into the zeitgeist. One headline from its latest campaign for Newfoundland and Labrador asks, “On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you working from the kitchen table?” A stunning shot of exotic coastline is followed by the tagline “Embrace a new normal. Work Remote.”

Fraudsters pretending to be government employees scam $100 million a year from trusting Canadians. Target’s national TV and digital campaign responded with humour: if that tax refund sounds too good to be true, well, listen to your “voice of reaso

Fraudsters pretending to be government employees scam $100 million a year from trusting Canadians. Target’s national TV and digital campaign responded with humour: if that tax refund sounds too good to be true, well, listen to your “voice of reason.”

Even a client as formal as Canada Revenue Agency leverages Target’s creativity and quirky humour. Its “Voice of Reason” national TV and online campaign drove 5.6 million YouTube views in 10 weeks, and generated over 80 million impressions. Storytelling gets attention, and results.

Reflecting the humanity Newfoundlanders are famous for, Target’s “Inuit Child” campaign for Indigenous Services Canada makes a strong emotional appeal to young Inuit parents and grandparents. Demonstrating cultural sensitivity and respect for Indigenous culture, Target executed the multi-media campaign in the Inuktitut language as well as in English and French, generating a 1,700% increase in month-over-month website visits.

All this humanity and humour has earned Target significant industry recognition, including bragging rights as strategy’s inaugural Small Agency of the Year in 2019, and a long-standing berth on strategy’s Creative Report Card. It’s one of few Canadian agencies to win a Cannes Gold Lion, and it’s won multiple Gold CASSIES for advertising effectiveness, including the Grand Prix.

Seems like taking the road less travelled leads to impressive results, for both Target and its clients.

CONTACT:
Noel O’Dea
President and founder, director of strategic & creative planning
nodea@targetmarketing.ca

The 2021 A-Listers:

Intro

Zulu Alpha Kilo: from strength to strength

doug&partners: ready for whatever’s next

UM: winning in an uncertain world

C&B: connecting on a deeper level

Initiative: doubling down on innovation and creating cultural velocity

Media Experts: shaping what’s next

Giants & Gentlemen: the power of unwavering philosophy

Wunderman Thompson: a multidisciplinary service offering

DDB: the power of informed creative

Citizen Relations: making every conversation count