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KidScreen Retail: Target launches proprietary character

In a move that was only recently made public, Target Stores has created a holiday-themed snowman character named Snowden, which the company plans to make a perennial property. The Target-branded character and the story concepts surrounding it were created jointly by...
November 1, 1997

In a move that was only recently made public, Target Stores has created a holiday-themed snowman character named Snowden, which the company plans to make a perennial property. The Target-branded character and the story concepts surrounding it were created jointly by members of the retailer’s notoriously savvy marketing team.

The retailer’s proprietary character is launching November 1st with a massive marketing campaign. Tie-ins include a Christmas special on CBS titled Snowden on Ice, plus a multi-artist CD. A special Snowden shop will be set up in Target outlets, where a plush toy line and a wide variety of yet-undisclosed Snowden licensed merchandise will be featured.

The television special, slated to air the day after Thanksgiving on CBS at 7 p.m., was created by Smith-Hemion, producer of the Emmys. The program, which combines live action and animation, follows a former competitive skater who returns to the sport, thanks to the encouragement of fedora-wearing Snowden. Olympic gold medalist skaters Ekaterina Gordeeva and Scott Hamilton will appear in the special, plus Canadian skaters Kurt Browning and Josže Chouinard.

‘The theme of the story is that if you have courage, then magic will happen to you,’ says Dann Netter, producer of the animated segments at Smith-Hemion.

While Target will continue to showcase promotions for Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox properties, these activities will be lessened with the entry of the retailer’s proprietary character into stores, according to a Target spokesperson.

A special tie-in effort in the greater New York metropolitan area aims to link Snowden promotions with store openings in Commack and Westbury on Long Island, New York, and with an existing store in Edison, New Jersey. Bus stops, subway stations, strategically placed outdoor, even New York Times Magazine, will be emblazoned with Snowden-related ads highlighting these grand openings as well as the TV special. Promotional events include Snowden appearing with the Rockettes and at the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center.

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