AOL, Target Launch Marketing and Promotional Initiatives

National discount retailer Target Stores, a division of Target Corp., and America Online, Tuesday rolled out the first promotional and co-marketing initiatives resulting from June’s strategic alliance.

Beginning Tuesday, co-branded CD-ROMs featuring a special edition of the AOL service will be made available at in-store kiosks at Target stores nationwide and can be requested at target.com.

Users who subscribe using the CD-ROM receive 500 free hours on the service and are entitled to a 10 percent discount on merchandise purchased online at target.com.

The specially branded AOL service offers direct links to target.com, as well as a customized tool bar and “favorites” folder, both of which include links to the retailer’s site.

In addition, links to target.com appear in AOL’s Shop@AOL e-commerce area and in other locations across the AOL service, including AOL.COM, CompuServe, Netscape Netcenter and AOL Digital City.

The announcement marks the first action thus far in the companies’ multi-year co-marketing alliance, under which the companies agreed to cross-promote their products and services to consumers.

The agreement is extremely lucrative for both: consumers make approximately 1 billion visits each year to Target’s 945 stores across the country. The AOL and CompuServe services combined have more than 24 million members, and AOL’s Web-based brands have tens of millions of users.

“These are just the first of many exciting co-branding initiatives Target and AOL will be rolling out through this alliance,” said Jerry Storch, president of Target Financial Services and New Businesses. “We are delighted to begin offering AOL products and services to our guests, while bringing our great selection of merchandise to the millions of users of AOL’s brands.

“Together, Target and AOL will continue to create compelling new offers for consumers, as we at Target continue to integrate the Internet into every aspect of our business,” Storch added.

“Already, we’ve seen a great response to the target.com promotions across Shop@AOL, and by offering AOL software in Target stores, we can introduce millions of Target’s loyal guests to all the benefits that AOL and the Internet have to offer,” said AOL Interactive Services President Barry Schuler.

“These new online and offline promotions are focused squarely on creating more value for our customers, and we will continue to leverage the potential of our powerful brands to make the online experience more fun, innovative and convenient for our consumers,” he added.

The Target/AOL alliance is also being promoted extensively through a wide variety of marketing channels. These include visibility in all Target marketing channels, including the company’s Sunday circular, broadcast and print advertising and other marketing programs.

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