I haven’t been following LOST for the past 6 years like most of the millions of series finale viewers on Sunday night probably have been. It did have me in its grips for about the first 6 months, then they lost me. It kind of reminded me of the phenomenon of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks back in 1990, with its ever twisting and turning sub-plots and mysterious happenings. As with Twin Peaks, watching LOST gave me the distinct feeling that the writers were just taking it an episode at a time without any idea of where it would take them or what it all meant. I couldn’t imagine how it could possibly be tied up in the end. But, for some reason I felt curious to watch the much hyped LOST finale this past weekend. Maybe all the hype sucked me in like a vacuum cleaner, but the thing that stands out in my mind now is not the mysterious ending, but these fabulous 15 second spots from Target that appeared throughout the finale:
Target sure knows how to target their customers. Or I guess the agency that creates them does. Target used their understanding of LOST’s audience, the apparent understanding of the insider images from the show and used them to their advantage. Tying the smoke monster into the selling of a smoke detector, the wild boar to BBQ sauce and the life or death inability to execute on an outdated computer to a new cordless keyboard was simply genius advertising. The spots are simple, clever, funny, completely memorable and unmistakably Target. They connected to the audience and made them feel like: “Hey, those execs at Target must watch LOST, just like me.” Like LOST viewers and Target are part of the same insider’s club.
Knowing your audience, connecting with they way they think, the things they like, the things they can relate to, all while tugging at their sense of humor, makes for a successful ad campaign. This is a prime example of how old school advertising can still connect with consumers. There was no conversing with Target going on here. Sometimes, if done correctly, a good commercial can still connect with consumers. I doubt the sale of Kraft BBQ sauce, First Alert smoke detectors or Microsoft cordless keyboards will suddenly start flying off the shelves at Target as a result, but these ads do wonders for the larger picture of Target’s own brand building. They create an image of a smart, modern, fun and savvy place to shop and save money. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?