Target Dials Up Joy, Tones Down Pride

Hoping to remind people of the joy of discovery, Target is launching “That Target Feeling.” The new campaign, created by the company’s in-house team and Mythology, draws from the seemingly endless stream of the brand’s social media fan club, and aims to spark more interaction with the community.

The launch comes shortly after the company, once among the most exuberant of Pride supporters, is scaling back Pride messages, limiting Pride-themed merchandise to online sales and fewer stores.

The Minneapolis-based company says the new campaign aims to highlight the emotions Target fans know well: finding the perfect pot for a plant, or an amazing new workout look.

The approach allows Target to show off its strengths relative to other big-box stores. Target gets more than 50,000 daily mentions in user-generated content and claims to be the most-followed big-box retailer on TikTok. Fans will recognize cameo appearances from such influencers as Reesa Teesa and Birdman.



Set to Michelle Branch’s “Everywhere,” the campaign starts with a 60-second spot. It includes nine different forms of the music video, with versions for digital, audio, social, linear TV, streaming, cinema and out-of-home, including gas station TVs.

Ads will air during sporting events, including the NBA and NHL finals, and on streaming services like Netflix, Paramount and Roku. Some versions include QR codes, allowing people to shop the commercial.

“This campaign is inspired by real experiences shoppers have shared on social — those small, fun, and sometimes unexpected moments of discovery and delight in our aisles that make us Target," said Lisa Roath, Target’s chief marketing officer, in the company’s announcement. "We’re lifting that joy in our marketing this year as we continue leaning into nostalgia and humor in new ways.”

Members of the LGBTQ community are likely not feeling much of that Target joy, following the retailer's recent announcement of its scaled-back approach to Pride celebrations. Last year, the company’s Pride collection drew in-store protests from conservatives, an online firestorm, and a boycott.

Target’s decision to tone Pride down highlights the elusive path to “middle ground” amid rising anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Not only did last year’s in-store protests threaten the safety of Target associates, but a conservative boycott also cut into second-quarter sales. Rather than put Pride merchandise in every store, this year, Target says the rainbow-themed items are available online and in select stores, “based on historical sales performance.”

It says it will continue to “support and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community,” participating in local events in Minneapolis and nationwide. It is also spotlighting LGBTQ-owned brands.

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