Target Touts Toy Exclusives for Extended Holiday Season

Cyndi Loza
Managing Editor, Member Content, P2PI
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Target is shining a spotlight on exclusive toys from ThreeSixty Group's FAO Schwarz and other brands as it prepares for an extended and unconventional holiday season. 

The mass merchant teamed with FAO Schwarz to launch an exclusive 70-piece toy collection, which includes a 25-pack of "Marvin's Magic Pens," a gift bag ornament partially covered in Swarovski crystals, a giant piano dance mat, a rocket-ship-shaped candy dispenser, plush toys, doll strollers and hardcover books such as Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The collection rolled out to Target stores and late last month and, though many items are under $20, prices range from $4.99 to $200. From Oct. 20-23, shoppers also had access to an interactive boutique showcasing limited-quantity FAO Schwarz collectibles, priced between $50 to $4,000, with all sale proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

In stores, FAO Schwarz toys enjoy secondary merchandising space on an endcap outfitted with signage communicating the collection's exclusivity. An Oct. 8 email blast from Target, a promotional page within containing videos spotlighting select toys, and multiple social media updates from FAO Schwarz support. 

Founded in 1862, FAO Schwarz is one of the oldest toy stores and brands in the world. It's known for its high-end toys and received attention when actor Tom Hanks famously played on a dance-on piano at a FAO Schwarz store in New York in the 1988 20th Century Studios film Big. As part of its partnership with Target, FAO Schwarz will carry more than 300 items from Target's private labels, including Cat & Jack and Pillowfort, at its famed New York store.

Holiday toy catalog 

The FAO Schwarz collection launched concurrent with Target's 2020 holiday toy catalog on Oct. 25. Besides a two-page spread spotlighting FAO Schwarz, the catalog contains this year's "Bullseye’s Top Toys" list, comprising 50 toys including 19 that are exclusive to the mass merchant. Among the exclusive toys that made this year's list are:

  • Harry Potter "Attack on the Burrow" and Star Wars "Resistance I-TS Transport" sets from Lego Group, 
  • a FAO Schwarz "Giant Piano Dance Mat,"
  • Frozen 2 "Ultimate Adventure Collection" pack from Hasbro, and
  • a L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. four-pack from MGA Entertainment. 

A promotional page, a display ad and a digital version of the catalog on plug toys on the list. Target is also pledging $2 to Toys for Tots (up to a $1 million) for every Top Toy purchased from Oct. 25 through Nov. 21. 

“This year’s exclusive FAO Schwarz collection and our largest Bullseye’s Top Toys list ever provides something new and exciting for kids of all ages, all at an incredible value,” said Christina Hennington, Target executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, in a media release announcing the FAO Schwarz partnership and Top Toys list. “We also recognize our [shoppers] have a lot to think about this holiday season, and we hope they find comfort in the safe, easy experiences we’ve created, whether shopping in our stores or using one of our convenient fulfillment options.”

Extended holiday season

Target kicked off the holiday shopping season in October with its 48-hour "Deal Days" promotion, which indirectly competed with Amazon's Prime Day event. The mass merchant is following up the Deal Days promotion with Black Friday deals throughout November as a way to extend the holiday shopping season due to the pandemic. Deals so far have encompassed various electronics from manufacturers including Bose and Sony. Target also promises to match the price of an item if it goes lower at the retailer before Dec. 25. A promotional page and home page leaderboard ad on, as well as email blasts plug the deals.

"We'll be spreading our best-priced holiday offers over a longer time frame, beginning in October, so [shoppers] can shop safely and conveniently without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come only late in the season," said Target CEO Brian Cornell during the retailer's second quarter earnings call on Aug. 19. "We've also announced that we'll be closing stores on Thanksgiving, sending a clear signal to guests that they won't need to stand in line and crowd into stores to get a great deal."