Target, which commands a significant share of the swimwear market, continues to stress inclusivity in its advertising, marketing and social media campaigns as it tries to convince more women to get into the water by showing its swimsuits on a variety of body types.
Target claims to be the largest swimwear retailer in the U.S. In the past, the number-one position has teetered between it and Victoria’s Secret but the discounter said it regained the number-one spot last year.
“We’ve seen tremendous strength in our swim business, which has been driven by assortment, presentation and our approach to marketing,” said Jeff Jones, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, adding that Target “celebrates the fact that people come in various shapes and sizes. There’s no perfect body type.” There is, however, a swimsuit for a wide array of body types at Target, Jones said.
The retailer last year grew its swimwear business by nearly 10 percent, and the company isn’t taking its foot off the accelerator. Target doubled its online swimwear assortment with the addition of brands such as Mar by Vix, designed by Paula Hermanny, whose main Vix collection is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-porter and Neiman Marcus. Vanilla Beach, Shade and Shore, Vitamin A Soleil, Cleobella Turquoise, Miracle Brands and Tori Praver Seafoam complement house brands Merona, Mossimo and Xhilration.
Target tripled its marketing spend over last year for broadcast TV, digital and social media, signaling the importance of the swimwear category.
In addition, Target launched its biggest social media campaign to date for the style category with the hashtag, #NOFOMO, which stands for “No Fear Of Missing Out.” A flood of posts from social influencers resulted in more than 300,000 likes and shares, the company said.
The idea for the campaign came from a study in Fitness Magazine that found 36 percent of women said they would turn down an invitation to Justin Timberlake’s pool party because they’d feel too self-conscious to wear a swimsuit.
“Last year, we showcased real women, real bodies and a diversity of body shapes,” said a spokesman. “This year, the women in the commercial and print ads are models, but there’s still focus on body inclusivity.” The tag line for the campaign is, “Target Loves Every Body.”
“The campaign was designed to be a badge for proud women,” said Marissa Shrum, strategy director of advertising agency Mother New York. “That’s why it is rooted in a message that doubles as a hashtag. It’s a rallying cry for women to stop missing out on what they love about the season because of body insecurities. Our intention was to create an empowering message that women could get behind, relate to, and share with their friends, making social a critical component.”
Target executives believe they’re tapping into a significant cultural moment: the launch of the Barbie Fashionistas line and dolls with three new body types — curvy, petite and tall. The dolls, along with the original Barbie, whose perfect body has been criticized for giving girls a negative body image and unrealistic and unattainable goals, will wear Target swimsuits on the @Barbiestyle Instagram account.
“We were really excited to learn of Barbie’s evolution,” Jones said. “She’s had an undeniable impact on our culture for decades and now is helping to evolve the conversation about inclusivity. Given our belief in every body, we loved the idea of working with Mattel to find a way for Barbie to join our swimwear campaign.”