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Tapping into the consumerist impulses of American travelers visiting big cities can be a lucrative endeavor, and Target is hoping that those in New York City will be interested in taking a piece of Times Square home with them.

The retailer is installing four biilboards this weekend. And along with the traditional I Heart NY t-shirts that have become a staple on every corner around the city, visitors can bring home a piece of those billboards in the shape of an Anna Sui designed tote bag that can be purchased online.

To celebrate Fashion Week and International Design Week, Target has teamed up with four local New York City artists — Laurie Rosenwald, Michael Anderson, Josh Goldstein and Charles Wilkin — and will display their six designs on four vinyl billboards in the square.

Visitors to Times Square, in addition to taking and sharing the photographs, can go online and purchase a piece of the signs to wear around at home. Target will "upcycle" the signage into 1,600 Anna Sui designed limited edition bags. Customers can go to Target.com/billboardbag starting September 4 to choose the design they would like to purchase in bag form for $29.99. 90% of each bag will be composed of the signage.

Target does not have a store in Manhattan, but Target spokesperson Leah Guimond says that "We have many stores in the New York area and we are thrilled to be able to give back to the city's residents through this unique, artful campaign and exciting online shopping experience that allows guests to own a piece of New York."

In addition to giving viewers a souveneir from their trip to New York, there's also the multiplying effect of Times Square advertising. Every image passed around of Times Square creates additional views of the advertising that has been purchased in the area.

Target has been a presence in Times Square since 2004, and Flickr already has a library of photos taken of Target billboards in the area.

Together with ad agency Mother, Target is promoting the new campaign online, in print and outdoors. The billboards themselves will appear with the following message: “1 billboard by 4 NY artists becomes 1,600 bags by 1 Anna Sui. Only at Target.com/Billboardbag.”

Meghan Keane

Published 1 September, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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