Category Archives: Retail


Apr 4, 2013

I admire Target’s simple grace in-store.  The various executions of wall signs, hanging signs, aisle violators, and owned-brand packaging all contribute to a mood and brand that’s unmistakably Target.


Not only is Target consistently on-brand and clean across its many incarnations (some much, much cleaner than others), the store itself signifies purity, the type of place you can feel good about learning the latest trend or walking out with a $20 birthday present or $100 trash can.

Target OJ

I loved working on Target because I got to observe firsthand how dedicated their Minnesotan marketers were to the Target Mission.  They agnonized over the perfect balance, mood, and execution of each photo, model, and facial expression.

Target Food Section Groceries

It’s interesting how clean the logo and straightforward the concept of Target is: a central vortex, once entered, that stands for success.

Target Aisle Paper Towels Toilet Paper

How simple a symbol to repeat, and be drawn to.  How many images and mood boards and nonverbal communication must happen between every individual in order to ascribe such a harmonious visual presence?

Entrance Target Fashion

The answer is:  a lot.  Target workers shared images and mood boards and paid attention to the details.  They visited Target stores all the time.  They used Target merchandise.  They lived their brand.

Target Shopping Aisles

Target attracts brand fanatics to Minneapolis the same way that Nike pulls athletic, driven workers to their headquarters in Beaverton.  The brand lives.  It’s one we’ve grown up with.  The psyedelic supermodel commercials were like nothing else on TV; I remember being amazed.

Target Glamour

Who created these images?  How were they done?  On a computer?  Where was this white and red world of beautiful multicultural people?  What was the industry and jobs and faces of the people who made this be on TV?


The answer is: people who wanted to make those images made them.  It was a partnership formed around a circular beacon.  These opportunites to strike forth on new advertising ground, with campaigns like Target’s iconic red and white psychedelia aren’t impossible, but they are rare.  They require a unique combination of personalities and opportunity, of permission and bravery on both the client side and the agency side.

Target Hanging Signs In Store Retail Display Listerine Capri Sun M&M

When a formula works, it can create a brand standard that informs the company’s creativity and output for years in the future, much like a strong genetic strain in a species.

Target Shopper Segment Audience Orange Gillette

I believe the types of emotional work that affect people on a mass scale are created by individuals who exist in an emotional state of support.  The best work comes out of informed creativity and transparent, two-way communication.  In simple terms: everyone gets along.

Shopping Target Suzy Mae

All these things I think about while shopping Target.  And I think Target is beautiful.


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Do Virtual Bartenders Dream?

Feb 2, 2013

Virtual Bartender

What is this new, fancy Sunset and Vine Walgreens trying to do with a virtual bartender?

Manhattan cocktail search results

The kiosk is a mix of video clips (the bartender speaks to you!) and touchscreen browsing through drink descriptions and recipes.  I believe the interface had TOO MANY CHOICES, some that felt like forced advertising (About Our Brand!).  As consumers, we want simple, tactile, and satisfying.

Scotch Selector

The content is helpful.  Who doesn’t need a guide through the nuances of a particular scotch while picking out a dinner party present?

But the OPTIONS!  Wine Cellar, Scotch Center, Brand Information, each with a little description and photograph.  Don’t do this.  Offer back screens and lists of information, rather than many multiple buttons.

Manhattan recipe

Overall, a nice installation needing some navigational tweaks.

But horror of horrors, Walgreens boldly offered a classically abominable digital/ physical disruption.

Walgreens does not stock the ingredients that are included in their recipes and recommendations.  This is the opposite of seamless, my friends.

I even sent the register boy and his superior (excuse me, associates) scrambling through the aisles in search of bitters.

“What was it?” they kept asking.  “Biggers?  Is it a vodka?”  No, fancy digital virtual bartender, your recipe would have gone unfulfilled…

…if I weren’t the professional/amateur barkeeper of ©BarMae, fully stocked at home.