Target Embraces Superheroes, but the Real Star Is Supermom

Inside the new Justice League spot

Headshot of Tim Nudd

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.



Client: Target

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

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: June 19, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT