Reflecting Vancouver

Urbanism and Life on the West Coast

More Vancouver than Vancouver

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2013-05-27 Target 1
Target was my savior in American suburbia. In a land where affordable clothes were uniformly large and boxy, only Target offered shirts and trousers to fit a narrow frame. And the threads actually lasted. I shudder to think what my cupboard would have contained without the economical design flair that Tar-jay perpetually kept in stock. Less than five minutes in WalMart were enough to remember how fortunate we Target shoppers really were.

I imagine Canadian youth were better off, because my rare stateside Point Zero finds always slipped on comfortably. Thrift shops in Canada testify that mass-market clothing has always been of a closer cut here than in America, perhaps because of many svelte Québécois bodies. But alas, the ready availability of shirts made to fit the human torso could not match the astonishing price points of Target across the border, an envy that intensified with the rising Canadian dollar.

Announcement that Target was coming to Canada, by way of a coordinated acquisition of Zellers, therefore struck immediate buzz on Vancouver streets, even vindication. We don’t even need to envy the US for Target anymore, went a certain sentiment. The company has likewise treated its approaching era of Canadian market dominance with an air of fait accompli.

Tremendous goodwill and frothing customer base nothwithstanding, Target’s new ad campaign on Vancouver buses and transit shelters is almost too self-congratulatory and pat. Depicting a Seussian city that is more Vancouver than Vancouver and emblazoned in all respects with the Target logo — even buildings are branded — the ads border on parody or party propaganda. This surrealism is heightened by the fact that no Target stores are opening in the City of Vancouver until at least 2014, while malls at far reach from a Kitsilano bus stop bask in red-spotted consumer heaven. The first Vancouver location is expected to open in Oakridge, which is at least within commuting distance of the many stamped landmarks in our dazzling post-Target future. Like stateless communism, perhaps the promise will never be fulfilled. I like to think that delinquent defacement of one Target poster, pictured below, is an expression of this latent outrage.

2013-05-27 Target 2

It’s a clever ad campaign, whatever the high-level dissonance. So when are they opening in Vancouver?

Your post-Target future can be previewed here:
http://www.target.ca/
For a tasteful Art Deco interpretation, go here:
http://illustratedvancouver.ca/post/50588303923/target-branding-vancouver

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Author: Chris

I'm the author of Reflecting Vancouver, a West Coast blog devoted to urbanism, culture, politics, philosophy, and everyday living in Vancouver.

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