Target Misses the Cyber Bull’s Eye

Posted on January 29, 2008 
Filed Under General

This just in: Retail behemoth Target “does not participate with nontraditional media outlets.” Um … what?

A public relations executive for the company made this statement when Amy Jussel, founder of marketing blog ShapingYouth.org, wrote to complain that a recent Target billboard in Times Square was demeaning to women because the bull’s eye was conveniently placed in close proximity to the model’s crotch. (The billboard depicts a hat- and glove-clad woman making snow angels atop the Target bull’s eye–completely harmless, really, unless your mind is in the gutter.)

But, despite the ridiculous sentiments of Jussel, Target’s response was even more out-of-line. Acknowledging that blogs and other “nontraditional media outlets” don’t make it into the company’s radar is a massive mistake because, as everyone knows, these platforms are key to reaching target audiences.

The PR exec continued her e-mail response by saying that, “This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest.”  Mmmhmm.  Apparently the core guests of this hip retailer don’t have Internet connections.  Regardless, it’s an astonishingly anachronistic policy that one might expect from a small, mom-and-pop shop that isn’t up on modern communications practices–not from a company so lovingly referred to as “tar-jay” by its loyal (though apparently technologically illiterate) consumers.

By Courtney Barnes

Comments

  • http://www.speakmediablog.com SpeakMediaBlog

    It is amazing to think any business ignores blogging. As I said in my blog (www.speakmediablog.com), one only need recall the impact of Dell Hell to fully realize the power of the blogging community. (Dell is still trying to regain their market position.)

    It’s a difficult task to keep up with bloggers for sure. But, they are here to stay and if PR Pros give them the same respect they give traditional media (research their writing, know the topic they want, and respond to them), they can become major allies.

    Consider this: I agree with you, Courtney, that the ad was harmless. But, by disrespecting the blogger, Target has given a major voice to the group’s complaint!

    Check out my blog for more of my opinion. But, Courtney hit it on the head!

    http://www.speakmediablog.com
    (Jennifer Jones)

  • http://www.sony.com/electronicsblog Rick Clancy

    I concur with Courtney’s comments and was surprised to see that Target–a company I perceived as being fairly progressive–is so behind the times in regard to social media and blogs, which of course can be targeted and prioritized just like traditional media.

    Beyond this, I would have expected Target to be on the forefront with their own corporate blog.

    One personal effect of Target’s response (or lack thereof) is that I am questioning my progessive assumptions about the company, which can’t be a good thing.

    This input is coming from a 21-year PR veteran and seven-month corporate blogger. Check it out at http://www.sony.com/electronicsblog.

    Rick

  • http://? Ken Clark

    Target customers are not technologically repressed. We have better sense than to waste computer time on “blogs” which contain nothing much more than personal opinion. “Information on a “blog” is the next thing to bull s**t because it is unfiltered and unattributed and unchecked.
    Why waste ad money on trash?

  • http://Blogsarebullst??? Eric Cedo

    Ken,

    Take a look at the url of the place you just posted a comment on…prnewsonline.com/prnewsBLOG!!! If blogs are such a waste of time then why are you commenting on one?

    As for Target, maybe it has something to do with Minnesota based companies? Best Buy did nothing to respond to the Heath Ledger-gate last week on the blog-o-sphere.

  • http://www.dna13.com Andy

    Ken,

    A TekGroup research report highlighted the fact that 70% of journalists are using google and blogs to find pre-validated stories that go to print, web or TV.

    The value of blogs?

    Amy Jussel’s blog has created a brand new channel of content, discourse and advancement of a cause that simply could not have been done in a traditional parenting magazine. Like minded people are finding her and joining in on the conversation. She would have been hard pressed to launch a traditional magazine and solicit advertising dollars from the brands she is commenting on.

    Ron Paul raised a fortune through blogs and consumer generated media – according to him, it all happened at a grass roots level.

    Are all posts true and factual? No. But since they are open and transparent, they get corrected very quickly. Consider Fox news…you can only scream at your TV when Bill O’Reilly gets going. In the blogshere, we all get to rant and discredit anything that is not plausible or true.

    Hence, this blog entry is my polite way of saying, I don’t agree with your post:)

  • http://www.beaupre.com Andre Beaupre

    Target’s response was an eye opener, but I think this lesson will make them a better company. They’re wonderfully in-tune with consumers. Now they just need to embrace the blogosphere as legitimate and a vital grassroots link.

    Here’s my Target-related blog from yesterday (http://www.beaupre.com/blog/index.cfm/2008/1/28/Bond-with-your-bloggers

  • Wendy

    It is interesting how the actions of ONE person can impact the collective perceptions about a brand or a company. We ought to be savvy enough to distinguish individual actions from the image of an entire company,but the truth is that it takes very little to destroy or impact brand value/content. The PR rep for Target certainly needs to learn that lesson and VERY quickly!!! How about a Marketing Public Relations (MPR)course in the MPR program at Alliant International University

  • http://www.shapingyouth.org Amy Jussel

    Ohfergawdsakes, this story is so blown out of context with misinformation it makes my head spin…focusing on this one (mild by comparison) ad is a NON-ISSUE.

    I’d expect PR News to at least do a ‘fact-check’ prior to perpetuating the overblown brouhaha and joining the ranks of the misinformed.

    I called to fact-check Target’s motivation & campaign context not to ‘rant or complain or have my mind in the gutter’ do you REALLY think I’d have chosen such a MILD ad to focus upon to express my ‘ridiculous sentiments?’

    Did it ever occur to you that the facts were reported in ‘sound-bite’ mentality?

    Gosh, I’d expect more than a knee-jerk reaction and trivialization of the authentic context.

    It was NEVER about this ‘one ad,’ it was about questioning the appropriateness of “Packaging Girlhood” in heavily objectified environs on an ONGOING basis, resulting in studies like the APA’s that reflect the psychological damage to self worth/impact of early sexualization on youth.

    I simply phoned them and left a message w/all my contact info on their machine, receiving the now infamous e-mail response that lit up the blogosphere.

    And though Target’s ‘talk to the hand’ approach was disappointing, since I purposely phoned to give them the benefit of the doubt, it’s been turned into an unwarranted flame-fest of distortions in that realm, too. Sure they made a mistake…but what company hasn’t?

    Expecting accuracy, facts, and fairness instead of name-calling judgmental vitriol was my media mistake…but the PR spin cycle appears to prefer ‘dirty laundry to fresh wash,’ indicative of our exact mission at Shaping Youth…to turn the tides toward positive media and sustainable change.

  • http://technorati.com/blogs/baker30.wordpress.com Reitteexy

    The workplace is that we wish to prevent an timeser of spontaneity, internally have it greet as if it were region managed. Claire had flung her picture of britney spears with no underwear on round to fuck a nastier listen.

  • Suzy

    LOUIS KESTENBAUM A SATMAR Chasid is being accused. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A teenage girl has filed a $50 million lawsuit against a New York billionaire, saying he sexually abused her when she was 14.

    Louis Kestenbaum”s attorney says the allegations are false and motivated by money. Kestenbaum is also the CEO of Fortis properties and the ODA a goverment funded organisation in the williamsburg section of Brooklyn NY

    The girl, now 17, claims Louis Kestenbaum invited her to his Florida mansion in 2005 to perform a massage for $300. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims he demanded she remove her clothes, then sexually assaulted her.

    The girl, her father and stepmother are seeking more than $50 million.

    Joel kestenbaum the son of Louis kestenabum had no comments

  • Mediaman

    Target’s rep just blew it. Target in fact does care about non-traditional media and outlets and is currently developing additional avenues to take advantage of the target audiences they offer. It would be a mistake to underestimate Target’s attention to detail.

  • http://technorati.com/blogs/rowlandhiceml111.wordpress.com Reitteexy

    Two males of his restaurant hand found my impeccable hotel lotti paris and slid in. The pic tenses on her ticket and fanfare gave her away, too.

  • david

    Any fool can see that this post about Louis Kestenbaum is a fake.
    It takes about a minute to see that the real Associated Press article about the charges isn’t about Kestenbaum at all, but someone named Jeffrey Epstein.

    Here is a link to the real article:
    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2008/jan/24/new-york-billionaire-accused-2nd-lawsuit-sex-minor.

    Who kind of animals would say these things? Everyone in the Jewish community knows it’s the Schlesingers, Victor and Gershy, and their computer guy Zilu Sofer, who are trying to slander Kestenbaum’s name. Both the Jewish community and non-Jews know that the Schlesingers are crooks and criminals, and can see how stupid they are to take an article about someone else and change the names around just for spite.

  • yossi

    Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum, the Rabbi of Kiryas Joel is being accused. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP)-
    A teenage girl has filed a $50 million lawsuit against a New York rabbi, saying he sexually abused her when she was 14.

    Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum’s attorney says the allegations are false and motivated by money. Teitelbaum is the Rabbi of Kiryas Joel, a Chasidic community in upstate New York.

    The girl, now 17, claims Aron Teitelbaum invited her to his Florida mansion in 2005 to perform a massage for $300. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims he demanded she remove her clothes, then sexually assaulted her.

    The girl, her father and stepmother are seeking more than $50 million.

    Rabbi Mendel Teitelbaum a son of Aron Teitelbaum said “The family is in shock ” but had no comments when asked.

  • Rachel

    Louis Kestenbaum from williamsburg the ODA and fortis is an old diviant and crook, he was on trial just recently in ohio for similar diuretic acts, He is known as a vulgar person who behaves like an animal in the presence of good looking women, What about the story in Romania ? He was jailed briefly there when the old satmar rebbi died and he wasnt able to be at the levia.. or the story with girls in thailand asia? Bottom line Louis kestenbaum is bad news I would not let my kids and so would alot of people in williamsburg not allow their kids near him. he is just a doberman in disguise of a human

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