Target Partners With Sports Illustrated on Swimsuit Issue

In addition to the Sports Illustrated partnership, Target rolled out a commercial boasting an exclusive version of Justin Timberlake’s first album in six years, and it promoted its exclusive new Prabal Gurung design collection with a lavish launch party during New York Fashion Week.

Contrary to popular belief, Sports Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issue isn’t just for guys—and Target Corporation has forged a new partnership with the magazine to cater to the 18 million female readers expected to pick it up.
The issue, on newsstands now, features a beauty and style guide for which Minneapolis-based Target said it is the “exclusive advertiser and official marketing partner.” The style guide includes beauty tips and an inside look at the issue’s featured location and swimsuits—and it features swimsuits available at Target.
Financial terms of the partnership weren’t disclosed.
“Most people think the issue is for guys,” Target Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones told the Star Tribune. “But the women readership is actually shocking. Target has long been a destination for swimwear. It was a great opportunity to try something that has never been done before.”
Partnering with Sports Illustrated is just one of several new marketing efforts that Target has undertaken since Jones joined Target in April 2012.
During Sunday’s Grammy Awards, at which pop singer Justin Timberlake performed, Target rolled out a commercial boasting an exclusive version of Timberlake’s first album in six years, The 20/20 Experience.
Also on Sunday, Target launched an exclusive spring design collection from Prabal Gurung—which it reportedly promoted by throwing a lavish launch party during New York Fashion Week that was attended by actresses Elizabeth Olsen and Rashida Jones.
Initial signs suggest that the collection has received a warm reception from shoppers. According to the Pioneer Press, as of Monday, many items were already sold out, and online availability was scarce. (Target saw the same type of frenzy when it launched a limited-edition Missoni fashion line in September 2011, but demand remained weak after it launched its more recent holiday collaboration with Neiman Marcus).
The Star Tribune points out that Jones has taken Target’s traditional marketing strength and fused it with a pop-culture twist. To read more about some of the new marketing efforts that the retailer has launched during his tenure, click here