By  on August 28, 2008

NEW YORK — Target Corp. on Wednesday elevated Michael Francis to executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He had been executive vice president of marketing.

Francis is credited for the Minneapolis-based discounter’s creative marketing, including the retailer’s pop-up shops in Manhattan and an idea he had to paint hermit crab shells with the company’s bull’s-eye logo for The American Spirit Awards, an event at the beach in Los Angeles.

In his new role, Francis will be responsible for all marketing functions, as well as strategy, research, community relations and target.com.

Retail analysts said Francis has been on the fast track at Target for some time. “It’s not surprising that he got promoted,” said Bill Dreher, a retail analyst at Deutsche Bank. “He was increasingly becoming an important figure at investor meetings.”

Francis has been executive vice president of marketing since 2003. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of marketing. He began his career at Marshall Field’s in 1985 and has been with Target Corp. since its acquisition of Field’s in 1990.

Francis challenges his employees to find the next big trend or the next new thing through what he calls The Big Idea contest. The winner gets a cash prize and recognition, and sometimes the product is created or an ad campaign is launched surrounding the item. Francis has said that he also relies on a network of about a dozen people in fields such as film and advertising from all over the country who feed him ideas on a regular basis.

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