By  on September 1, 2009

NEW YORK — Target is cutting against the grain of digital-age flash with nine new vinyl billboard ads going up in Times Square on Friday that will eventually be repurposed into tote bags designed by Anna Sui.

Iconic images, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, and words conjuring up the city such as “coffee,” “knish” and “Cheers New York,” will be splashed across the vinyl panels, in a combination of bold graphic symbols, pop art and verbal cues.

It’s no coincidence the new ads wrapping around two sides of Times Square Tower, on billboards Target began using in 2004, will coincide with two major fashion events, New York Fashion Week, Sept. 10 to 17, and National Design Week, Oct. 18 to 24. A handful of area artists, tapped by Target and its New York ad agency, Mother, designed the ad panels: Laurie Rosenwald, Michael Anderson, Josh Goldstein and Charles Wilkin.

“It’s a campaign mixing art, fashion, design — just something fun to do,” said Kelly Basgen, a Target Corp. spokeswoman.

People who glimpse the billboards during the their run in Times Square, through Oct. 31, will be greeted by a surprise: a chance to order a one-of-a-kind tote and designate the ad panel they’d like their Sui-made bag to come from, by visiting Deliveries are to be made in January.

Target anticipates offering about 1,600 Anna Sui totes fashioned from the vinyl billboards, Basgen said. Between 300 and 575 bags will be made from each of the panels, which vary in size from 3,256 square feet to 5,942 square feet. Black vinyl handles, black enamel studs and a black metal zipper will complete the items. The unlined bags, 15 inches high by 17 inches wide, are priced at $29.99.

Marketing the totes via the Times Square campaign reflects Target’s mission to give its customers “style and value,” Basgen said, as well as its efforts to “recycle and create excitement about Target exclusives, like its design partnership with Anna Sui.”

The message to viewers on the billboard signaling the bags’ availability reads: “1 billboard by 4 NY artists becomes 1,600 bags by 1 Anna Sui. Only at”

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