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Hitting the Bullseye: From Target to ‘Tar-zhay’

Although the Target Bullseye was created in 1962, it wasn’t until years later that the logo met an agency that could give it a whole new meaning. That agency was Peterson Milla Hooks (PMH) and their use of design in combination with the traditional logo was able to elevate the brand from discount to intelligent.

The total brand transformation started with a rejection letter from Vogue. When Target had attempted to purchase ad space in an upcoming issue, the high-end fashion magazine giant claimed that they didn’t want to be associated with the discount store. Rather than give up and focus on a different demographic, PMH President Tom Nowak had a better solution: Make Target more desirable.

Because you like Target, you feel better buying your toothpaste there, even though you could get it at Walmart.

– Tom Nowak, president of Peterson Milla Hooks, Ad Age 2012

They couldn’t nix the bullseye. Why? According to Target’s website, a 2003 study showed that 96 percent of Americans recognized the bullseye as Target’s logo. So, they ran with it. PMH created an alternate red and white colored universe, covered in bullseyes and full of fun-loving people. Their first big rebranded ad, “Sign of the Times,” featured no products, but rather sold the idea of target as a fun and funky brand. “A lot of retailers focus on the transaction, but we really do believe that an emotional connection trumps selling,” Nowak said to AdAge.