On one of the last weekends of the summer people put on their bathing suits, packed their coolers, grabbed their towels and headed for the beach. If you were at the right beach this weekend you were in for a special surprise; a beach event for the family. Target has done it again.
Back in February, Target started building excitement for their foray into Canada by putting on a one-day-only pop-up store in Toronto. The lineup was blocks long and by all measures, it was a huge success for Target. Since then, Target launched their Canadian social media accounts in mid-August with a Facebook page and Twitter account. While their social media focus of late was mostly covering some behind-the-scenes activity and interacting with consumers, this week they started hinting at something big.
Today at select beaches in Toronto, Wasaga, Ottawa, Sylvan Lake, and Vernon, people were treated to a beach party titled “Bullseye Beach”. In Toronto the location was Centre Island.
Walking up to the Toronto Ferry Terminal, there were Target logos scattered on the ground. While some people instantly recognized the logo, others were wondering what the bulls-eyes were all about. At the entrance to the terminal Target representatives were there to greet beach goers with the good news that Target was covering the cost of the ferry to the island.
Now what would be a big event with seemingly endless fun to be had without a little controversy. Representatives from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) were at the ferry terminal dressed in plain clothes handing out flyers. Their only message was “Would you like some information about Target?” as they handed you a flyer. The flyer was information about Target not hiring on Zellers workers when Zellers stores close down this year to make way for Target stores to open. The flyer is prompting people to go to a website to voice their opinion to Target about the Zellers employees who will be soon unemployed. Some of the Target reps were spotted taking the flyers out of people’s hands as they entered the terminal, telling them “You don’t need that”.
The ferries were decked out for the party. They were covered in the company logos on the windows, streamers lined the railings, and branded pillows were set out on the benches to make the seven minute ride a little more comfortable. Upon getting to the island there were signs to point everyone in the right direction.
At the beach location they were ready for the masses. There were large tents set up with change stations, games, water, a juice station, and couches with magazines to hang out on. On the beach the company had chairs and umbrellas ready for lounging. In the swag tent the reps could hardly keep up. While the water bottles and folding chairs were the most popular with adults, and the sand buckets and shovels with kids, there was even more to choose from. The company had sunglasses, beach mats, sunscreen, frisbees, bags, and stickers to give out with a one per person policy.
Not only did Target dominate the beach, but they were in the water too. They had not one, but two sailboats floating in the lake in front of the beach. The party didn’t stop there. In the morning Virgin radio was broadcasting live to spread the word, then in the afternoon there was a DJ to liven thing up.
For those that were a little peckish, samples of Archer Farms products were being given out from carts near the tents. Archer Farms is Target’s premium private label food brand. For a cooling treat there was an ice cream truck handing out free cones of chocolate and vanilla soft-serve.
At mid day you couldn’t go anywhere on the island without seeing the bulls-eye littering the landscape. Everyone on the island was talking about Target and eating up the freebies.
By all accounts, Target owned Centre Island today.