Target Snubs Offended Parent Who Blogs

Preface: I swear that I’ll stop writing about stupid things that Target does as soon as they stop doing stupid things. Perhaps I hold Target to a higher standard than other companies? At this point, I think it’s the misalignment between Target’s positioning as the do-gooder, family-friendly, cooler alternative to Wal-Mart that leads to issues when they misstep.

They also seem to be hyper-sensitive about their brand. They decide what’s cool. You buy it. No questions asked. They don’t seem ready to engage their customers unless you call paying kids to say nice things about Target engaging. While their brand is clearly phenomenal, things like this chip away at their mystique in a world where everyone – not just mainstream media – is a publisher.

On with the show:

Paul Schmelzer has a report over on Minnesota Monitor about a mother, Amy Jussel, who’s offended by a billboard put up by Target in Times Square. She happens to have a blog and asked Target to comment for her blog on why they chose to run this particular advertisement. However, they’ve chosen to snub her.

Here’s the billboard in question:

Target Billboard in Times Square

Here is her concern, as she posted on her site, Shaping Youth – a forum for media & marketing’s influence on kids:

Taking Aim at Target: Think That V is a CoinkyDink?

This ad may not be QUITE as blatant as some of the other spread-eagle ambient billboards we’ve featured or as viral as the onslaught of Axe videos making the rounds, but it’s subliminal to the point of guffaw.

That sounds like a reasonable judgment of a company that positions itself as family friendly.

As Paul summarized, Target told Ms. Jussel, a blogging media analyst, that they wouldn’t talk to her because she didn’t represent Target’s core audience. (Check the comments on Shaping Youth for more deets.) How strange is that?

Maybe Target doesn’t really understand the issue? I mean, why would a mother take offense at a billboard with a bullseye on a woman’s crotch?

Perhaps switching genders will help explain the issue. Here are two shots Target is welcome to use in future billboards, gratis:

Ed In Target Ad

Ed In Target Ad

Now I’m starting to understand why Ms. Jussel was offended. Heck, I’m offended when I look at myself spread out over the bullseye.

Update: Target considers changing blogger engagement policy?

29 thoughts on “Target Snubs Offended Parent Who Blogs”

  1. Spot on and hilarious to boot!

    The beauty of being an outspoken industry blogger is that I get to meet people like you (& Paul) who otherwise would be half-a-country away; thanks for hearing my plea. Brilliant response.

    I’ll be linking to it soon on a follow up piece, as my Shaping Youth advisory board PhD pals at PackagingGirlhood.com just weighed in, citing the APA study of early sexualization/impact on girls’ self-worth, etc. (which I wrote about here:
    http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=309

    AND…Stuart Elliott/NYT just wrote: “Fitness Center Chain Goes Provocative in New Campaign” about Equinox (agency was Fallon in Mn.) which is yet another ‘there goes the neighborhood’ citing of absurd Mn. antics of late…

    Whassup over there?! I know winters in Mn. are icy cold, but this is NOT how to turn up the heat via ambient advertising, folks! sheesh.

  2. Ang, it doesn’t surprise me that you have a stronger stomach than Jeremy.

    Shaping Youth, thanks for stopping by. I have no theories off the top of my head on what’s up with advertising coming out of MN.

  3. Did Carly take these pictures while you were re-enacting the Michael Jackson video for “The Way You Make Me Feel”?

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  6. neither the woman (NOR the man) in the center of the target logo offends me. If they were facing away from the viewer with their ASS in the center of the target that might be more blatant. As it stands, the TARGET is the name and logo and you people need to to relax just a little. No, a LOT.

  7. But…this is how I relax! To find and call some place on their awful business decisions and humorously feature it on a blog entry is quite relaxing, isn’t it? And laughing at mindless corporate marketing, heck, it is old news and I’m laughing still.

  8. As it happens, I’ve negotiated business deals with Target that involved branded apparel and I agree completely with your hyper-sensitivity theory. They are extremely sensitive, protective, and arrogant regarding their brand and they’ll let you know as much.

  9. I just don’t get it, it seems to me like people are looking way to deep into this.. I mean, there is a lady laying in the target , hmm, the middle of the target is covered by her vagina.. you know, that area of the body is the “middle” of the body and of course would lie over the middle of the target if anyone layed on it.. I mean who freakin cares, I love vaginas or the idea of one clothed so screw it, in this day of age when sex is everywhere (regardless if its right or wrong) this is pretty timid and mild, people have had way to much free time on their hands since world war 2 and this is just a sign of the times, if people had to work their butts off to just feed their family like back in the day this would be no big deal at all, no one would have time to notice it.. silly humans, go put some words somehwere where they may matter, no one really cares about his except prude.. I am all for more vagina centered adds, or cocks, who cares,…

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  12. So, has anyone ever bounced a check at Target? Well we did! I know this might be hard to believe but we haven’t bounced a check in over 5 years. We spend over $5K a year at the store. So the story goes, I was in China on business for 3 weeks I forgot to transfer money into my wife’s account before I left. So a few checks bounced before I got the text and transfered some money into her account.

    Anyway, the check to Target was paid the second time through. WIfe about had a heart attack anyway we thought everything was fine. Not So! a few weeks later we started getting phones calls from Target. Their Collection department, anyway they told my wife the check was paid but they have a $25.00 fee for bounced checks. So she told me about it, my response was to tell Target to blow. Then I got a letter from them today, oddly enough I got a call from the collections department again tonight. I told her I wasn’t happy about this. I told her the background she said what do you want me to do? I said I want you to waive the fee! She said she can’t do that it but could cut in half, $12.50
    I asked if she knew how ridiculous this conversation was? I told her I was never going to shop at Target again. It was obvious she didn’t care! So I’m going to send them a check for $25.00 along with a letter informing them of my decision. So, if you shop at Target please beware of how much Target appreciate your business. Talk about CEO’s that make to much money, their Chief Marketing Officer needs to get a clue and give his/her paycheck back because what ever it is, it’s to much!

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