IDEA: Every mother is a superhero. But when your kid's birthday is fast approaching, it helps to have Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Cyborg on hand for some extra superhelp.
Those seven DC Comics characters swoop into action in 72andSunny's new 30-second spot for Target's just-released 50-piece summer collection of Justice League merchandise—everything from sporting goods, dinnerware and lawn/garden items to action figures, sand toys and beach towels that double as capes. Mom helps the superheroes out, too, in a mid-spot twist, and the ad is notable for another reason—it's the first to animate the inside of a Target store.
"Our guests have grown to love Target's campaigns for the signature 'wink and nod' touch of humor we often include," said Frank Crowson, senior director of category marketing at Target. "It was important to feature the Justice League characters in a way that captured our guests' attention with a playful story line that brings their favorite Justice League characters to life."
COPYWRITING: The spot was a collaboration among Target, 72andSunny, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment. "We wanted to keep the script simple and straightforward," Crowson said. The ad opens with Mom checking the calendar on the fridge as her son is seen through the window boarding a school bus. Alex's birthday is coming up! Mom immediately calls the Justice League on her smartphone, and suddenly they're all standing in front of a Target, ready to attack.
Inside, they help her pick out Justice League products. Superman uses his X-ray vision; Wonder Woman lassos party supplies; and Batman takes Mom for a ride on a swinging rope. At the checkout, though, they're powerless without money—so Mom whips out her Target REDcard. "It was important for Mom to 'save the day,' so we created a story line to show how she can find everything she needs for a summer party at Target at a great value," Crowson said.
At the end, an action-movie-style voiceover says, "Save the day with the Justice League. Only at Target." The tagline "Expect more. Pay less" is seen on-screen in a superhero-style type treatment. There is almost no dialogue, although at the conclusion, Wonder Woman says to Mom as they walk back through the parking lot together: "I love your boots."
ART DIRECTION: London-based Golden Wolf did the animation, working with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment to render the characters properly. There was no live-action footage shot as a guide; everything was purely imagined by the animators. "A first for Target is always exciting," Crowson said of animating the store's interior (as well as an employee). "We pride ourselves on our in-store experience and environment, and we ensured this was captured as we brought our animated Target store to life."
SOUND: The soundtrack, Willy Moon's "What I Want," has a harder edge than most Target ads use, befitting the action sequences. "[It] had just the right vibe for this spot, and we are excited to feature him as an up-and-coming artist," Crowson said. "The lyrics 'You know what I want/I got what you need' also felt like a great fit because they convey that Target is the Justice League headquarters for everything guests need. Personally, this is one of my favorite music tracks featured in a Target spot during my time here."
Barking Owl created whooshing, superhero-style sound effects to match the characters' movements and showcase the products.
MEDIA: The spot broke Sunday and will air nationally. A Spanish version will run on Hispanic networks such as Telemundo, Univision and MundoFox. The campaign also includes a comic-book-inspired print spread in the May 31 issue of Entertainment Weekly, as well as in-store displays and digital advertising.
Agency: 72andSunny, Los Angeles
John Boiler: Partner/CEO
Glenn Cole: Partner/CCO
Aaron Howe: Creative Director
Eric Burnett: Senior Writer
Jaclyn Markle: Designer
Ryan Iverson: Writer
Helena Yueh: Junior Film Producer
Ellen Pot: Senior Film Producer
Erin Goodsell: Film Producer
Autumn Abbruzzi: Brand Manager
Jaimie Mazzola: Brand Coordinator
Kelly Wright: Strategist
Cecilia Harvey: Business Affairs
Production/Editorial/Animation/Design: Golden Wolf
Ingi Erlingsson: Creative Director
Ewen Stenhouse: Art Director/ Director
Ant Baena: Producer
Norm Breyfogle: Lead Designer
Storyboards: Ewen Stenhouse, Norm Breyfogle and Yohan Auroux
Animators: Ewen Stenhouse, Tim Whiting, Peter Dodd, James Duveen, Carlos De Faria, Sam Taylor, Jerry Forder, Joe Sparrow, Matthew Timms and Isobel Stenhouse
Compositors: Alex Fernadez and Stefano Ottaviano
Designers: Norm Breyfogle, Ewen Stenhouse, Jonathan Djob Nkondo, James Duveen, Marie Ecarlat, Yohan Auroux, Bobbie Jean Litsenberger
Music: Willy Moon, "What I Want"
Sound Effects: Barking Owl
Michael Anastasi: Sound Designer
Kelly Bayett: Executive Producer/Creative Director
Brock Babcock: Mixer
Finishing: Barking Owl
Elexis Stern: Executive Producer
Abisayo Adejare: Producer
Mark Holden: VFX Artist