Target bets big on food this Thanksgiving

November 22, 2013

The pre-Thanksgiving circular is a bold bid—sans fresh—to win trips for the holiday meal.

Target’s circular this week is a feisty combination of sharp food deals and incentives, exclusive food products, and messages that attempt to sell larger-ticket items—all in a bid to become a one-stop destination for Thanksgiving, the year’s biggest food day.

True to the chain’s discount roots, Target has an aggressive ‘$10 off when you spend $50 on food or beverage’ coupon.  Shoppers can save 5% more if they buy with their Target REDcard.  

With such a margin-eating offer, The Lempert Report says Target is banking on much bigger baskets than $50 (including nonfoods).  The chain, we feel, also aims to associate its values and brands (national and private labeI) with successful meals that happen at home.

Its stylistic roots show in the circular too. Target promotes a Keurig K-Cup brewer on the front page, along with an Oster roaster, along with food pairings for the main meal.  These include: 99 cents-per-pound frozen Butterball turkeys, 65 cents canned vegetables, plus potatoes, stuffing and gravy. 

The contemporary feel of the ad comes from the clean graphics, the ability to show the $10 coupon on a smartphone, cupcake recipes on a Target Pinterest board, and crisp cadence in its language—for example, terms such as deal.icious. and  The extra periods reinforce the red dot within Target’s own logo.

Other food elements that stand out:

  • 1-pound bars of Reese’s and Snickers at $8.99, with the suggestion to Slice n’ Share.  The distinctive product form may warrant the high per-pound price and.
  • An exclusive Hershey’s candy flavor:  Peppermint Bark Bells, in a 9-ounce lay-down bag at $2.89.

For all of the circular’s appeal, it does avoid fresh foods, with just a few exceptions.  This gap could limit traffic to the PFresh formats, which Target eagerly wants to build.  The chain, investing big in food for this holiday, devotes the first seven pages of its 36-page flyer to it.