Target’s gamble to launch its first US holiday ads in mid-October, way before any of its rivals, seems to have paid off. The retailer’s perception with moms took off and is still above pre-advertising levels.
Target’s TV ads, featuring Christmas décor and the chain’s famous Bullseye mascot, began airing three weeks before Halloween, and coincided with a positive reaction from mothers. During the same time frame Wal-Mar's perception dropped significantly for the same demographic. The campaign seemed to help Target leapfrog over Wal-Mart in perception when the campaign began, and is Target still ahead.
Target and Wal-Mart were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" Results were filtered for women age 18+ with children.
In early October, Wal-Mart had a buzz score lead over Target with mothers, of 32 over 26. After the Target campaign began airing steadily for a week, Target's buzz score moved up from 26 on October 16th to a peak of 46 on October 25th, and stayed there for two days before trailing off to its current 34 score.
Target passed Wal-Mart on October 17th, which had already begun its decline, sinking from a 33 buzz score on October 16th down to an 8 score two weeks later, creating a 31 points difference between the two chains. Wal-Mart has worked its way back a few points with mothers since then to an 11 score, still way behind Target’s 34 tally.