March 6, 2021

Advertising: Target Evokes a Touch of La Dolce Vita

Missoni, long famous for its family heritage and bold, graphic knits, is the latest brand to join with the retail giant to promote a line of more than 400 products including clothing for men, women and children; home accessories; footwear; and even luggage. Prices for the products range from about $3 to $600, but most will be under $40.

“In the ’50s and ’60s, the Missoni brand really developed a voice that transported it out of Italy and into the United States,” said Will Setliff, the vice president for marketing at Target, “and that is what the aesthetic is inspired by in the campaign.”

Representatives from Target traveled to Milan to collaborate with the Missoni family, including Angela Missoni, the daughter of the company’s founders, Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, and her daughter, Margherita Maccapani Missoni, who is the face of the campaign and stars in the print and video ads. “It’s certainly been one of the most collaborative partnerships we’ve had with any of our designers,” Mr. Setliff said.

“We really wanted to reach a large audience,” Angela Missoni said. “As Missoni, we have a big name but we are not a huge company, so there’s not much product around.” The goal of the campaign and product line was to expand the Missoni image in the United States and to promote the brand as being young and fresh.


Some Americans may be confused about how to mix and match the brand’s bold colors — bright hues of green, blue, fuchsia and orange — and patterns, including the company’s trademark jagged lines, against other prints. So the campaign includes video for the Web, television and mobile phones starring. Ms. Maccapani Missoni, giving customers tips on how to incorporate prints and color into their lives. “If you don’t feel comfortable, it’s going to show,” she says in the video.

Online viewers will find a selection of items called “Margherita’s Must Haves.” As they click through the products they like, they will see recommendations on how to combine those items with others. The Missoni for Target collection will be in Target stores from Sept. 13 through Oct. 22.

Other elements of the campaign include ads for television and the Web that feature soundtracks reminiscent of the 1960s. In the ads, directed by Alex Prager, Ms. Maccapani Missoni is carrying a postcard with a secret message that is revealed after she is seen talking on a rotary telephone, having cappuccinos at a cafe with a friend and walking into a dining room decorated with Missoni products. (The secret message is “Missoni for Target.”) Ms. Maccapani Missoni will also be featured in some of the print ads.

“Family is as important to us as zigzags and colors,” she said of her role in the campaign. “It makes sense that someone within the family will be the face of the brand.”

Those who watch the video online will be able to buy directly by clicking on items that are highlighted. When a viewer clicks on a product, a pop-up window will appear with more details. The viewer can then add the item to an online shopping cart at without leaving the video.

Target worked with the advertising agency Olson on the “shoppable” video, which Dennis Ryan, the agency’s chief creative officer, described as “a new way to understand the Missoni look.” The interactive videos offer an experience that Mr. Ryan described as “far less disruptive — you just follow your bliss.” The agency also produced other digital ads and a mobile Web site where users will be able to watch the video ads and download their favorite Missoni for Target prints to use as wallpaper on their phones’ home screens.


Print ads will run in magazines including Elle, Elle Décor, Harper’s Bazaar, House Beautiful and Interview. Target will also run a 20-page insert in the September issue of Vogue. For the first time, Target ads will also run in a foreign publication, Vogue Italia.

Target will participate in events like Fashion’s Night Out during Fashion Week in New York and will open a pop-up store near Bryant Park, featuring items from the collection.

Target declined to say how much it spent on advertising the Missoni collaboration, but according to Kantar Media, part of WPP, the company spent $640 million on advertising in 2010. For the first quarter of 2011, the company spent $107 million.

Jeffrey Buchman, a professor of advertising and marketing communications at the Fashion Institute of Technology, said that in order to reach new consumers, brands are taking advantage of the reach that mass retailers like Target can offer, while retailers are enjoying the bump in cachet of carrying limited editions of brand name products.

“It’s become O.K. for the ‘Vogue customer’ to shop at Target, to brag about the fact that they saved money,” Mr. Buchman said.

Retailers are also hoping that a customer who is lured to a store for one item ends up leaving with more. “The retailer wants to cross-sell,” he said; in Target’s case, to “the person who comes in for a Missoni sweater and ends up walking out with six shopping bags full of other Missoni stuff.”

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