Target Floats Shopping Boat to NYC

"They've used the city as the hub of their branding message for the tri-state area," says Leibmann. "That's very smart."

Invaluable Marketing Message

The idea for the boat evolved after the retailer sponsored a "Target Townhouse" in New York's fashionable Tribeca neighborhood last year, which showcased a townhouse decorated entirely with the retailer's merchandise, says Brookter.

The company does not have any sales goals for the boat's two-week stint, but analysts say the publicity generated from the unique venue is more valuable than sales.

"Eventually, I guess you will see Target stores in New York City," says Beder. "This will generate good will for future shoppers."

At the opening night for the Target ship last week, shoppers seemed to enjoy the floating catalog.

"It's very ingenious," said Brown. "It gives you a chance to look around and get ideas."

Mooney, a big Target fan herself, said the holiday boat was a more festive, high energy environment than in normal Target stores. And there was one more key difference.

"There are more people in black," she said.

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