How Target made itself look stupid

Target doesn't like the blogosphere. And as Don Reisinger points out, the company has no idea what it's doing.

Every now and then, I come across some stories that make me cringe. Unfortunately, this is one such story. The New York Times is reporting today that Target made itself look like a fool because of the idiocy of its public relations arm.

According to the Times, a blog about the impact of marketing on children called Shaping Youth found issue with Target's latest ad campaign that showed a woman behind Target's logo. And while the site's founder Amy Jussel didn't necessarily find fault in the depiction of the woman, she was perturbed by Target's decision to place the bull's-eye directly over the woman's crotch.

Upon sending an email message to Target to get an explanation for the ad, the major retailer said that it was "unable to respond to [her] inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets."

Wow. What a bunch of clowns.

Of course, it didn't quite end there. Target went on to tell Jussel that "This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest."

Wow. So let me get this straight -- Target only wants to work with media outlets that reach its core guests and forget about any and all media outlets that don't? As one of the world's largest retailers, can anyone find me one publication that doesn't speak to at least one of Target's guests?

But then again, the Target representative uses the term 'core' to qualify which guests the company is trying to speak to. Does anyone know who Target's core guests are? The way it reads, Target's core guests must be those people who are reading this column, enjoy the Wall Street Journal or can't get through a day without their daily dose of the Washington Post.

Maybe I haven't read the same metrics Target has, but I sincerely doubt the same people reading this column and those enjoying The New York Times are the exact same folks. And it the exact same people aren't reading all of these "traditional media outlets", how can Target split up their core group of guests from the riff-raff so easily?

If you ask me, Target's decision to ignore a blogger's request for a response is nothing more than a group of misguided fools attempting to stick to company policy even though it hurts the company in the process. Don't these robots have any common sense?

To make matters worse, whoever responded to Jussel obviously has no idea what a "core guest" is and I would venture to say that no one inside Target does either. Does anyone actually believe Target is asking its customers which publications they read when they leave the store? Regardless, I simply can't understand why the pre-requisite for becoming a Target core guest revolves around your reading tastes.

If nothing else, Target displayed just how stupid it really is. After all, what well run organization would actually respond to someone it doesn't do business with? Wouldn't it have made more sense to close their traps instead of telling the world that the company doesn't like to work with bloggers? I certainly think so.

Nice one, Target.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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