Target does fashion. Target does music. So why doesn’t the retailer do both at the same time?
It’s a legitimate question to ask, especially when you consider Target’s big day this past Sunday.
In the morning, the retailer launched its exclusive spring collection from Prabal Gurung, a young designer who has dressed Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama.
Later at night, Target debuted a commercial during the Grammy Awards that announced its partnership with Justin Timberlake on The 20/20 Experience, his first album in six years.
Given Target’s firm footing in the often complementary worlds of music and fashion, it would seem natural for the company to combine the two.
Of course plenty of singers have launched their own clothing lines. And many were flops. But imagine if you will, if the always spiffy looking JT simultaneously created both an album and fashion collection for Target? Or if Taylor Swift performed the exclusive tracks from her album sold only at Target at the launch party for Jason Wu’s latest clothing line for Target, while wearing clothes from that collection? Synergies galore!
So what say you Jeff Jones?
“It certainly is a viable idea,” Jones, Target’s chief marketing officer, told me. “But not at this stage.”
Timberlake, a deft cross over artist who easily straddles multiple musical genres and mediums (see The Social Network), would seem like an ideal candidate to market both music and clothes. Looking dapper in classic tux, JT performed a single from the new album called (what else?) Suit and Tie, a clever fusion of hip hop, R&B, and Big Band standards.
The Timberlake commercial that immediately followed the performance — which features the pop star dressed in the same tux walking slowly toward a bright red microphone that sports Target’s logo — drew much praise from advertising critics. The retailer is accepting pre-orders of the album, which will hit shelves in March and feature two exclusive tracks.
“It’s a big deal,” said Amy Koo, an analyst with Kantar Retail consulting firm outside of Boston. “People will be wanting those extra tracks.”
Since Timberlake has not released an album in six years, sales of The 20/20 Edition could surpass first week sales of Target’s edition of Taylor Swift’s album Red, the retailer’s best performing first week album so far. Ironically, the band that previously held the top spot was Timberlake's old band, 'N Sync.
“It certainly has the makings of a blockbuster,” Jones said.
Imagine that demand spill over into a collection of suits and ties from the man who brought sexy back.
Call me Jeff. Let’s discuss this over lunch.