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Why I am Disappointed in Target Stores

200 fotolia 1895858 s Why I am Disappointed in Target StoresBlogging, while becoming rather influential in consumer choices, still is seen as the black sheep of media to various companies. Perhaps it is confusion with purely personal blogs or with spam blogs, or perhaps it is resistance to change and new forms of information media. Another theory is that companies have a fear of working with blogs because they tend to exist independent of advertising obligations, ad agencies, and public relations companies. So there is always a risk that a blog who speaks with a company or receives a product and hates it will tell it like it is, without sugar coating any unpleasantness. Why companies should not fall into that trap and should embrace blogs is a topic for another day. Today is about a more narrow issue: Target’s absolute refusal to talk to a blog.

Regardless of any black sheep stigma I carry as the editor of a blog, I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of companies, retailers, and public relations agencies that work with bloggers and form great working partnerships with them. So I was particularly disappointed in Target after reading The New York Times article, Target Tells a Blogger to Go Away.

Here is what happened. A blogger from the website, Shaping Youth, called Target to express concern about an ad displaying a woman lying over the Target symbol with her crotch at the bullseye. Instead of addressing her concerns, Target responded that it does not participate with nontraditional media outlets and stated that the practice “is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest.” For a more complete story, visit Shaping Youth’s transcript of the New York Times interview.

Now I don’t have strong feelings about the ad, and I wouldn’t be offended if Target had sent a polite response but declined to give any interviews or written reply. But to reply that bloggers as whole do not reach the store’s “core guest,” and hence are apparently irrelevant, seems to be ignoring reality. I am assuming that the term “core guest” focuses on the typical, regular shopper at Target Stores.

Why should I care? Well, I write a good deal about drugstore cosmetic and beauty brands, including some exclusive to Target. I also tend to shop at Target for items for review, and mention Target as a location where products are available for purchase. So Target has received a fair amount of business purchases and gratuitous advertising from me– free advertising that is read by a demographic that I believe includes a high number of Target’s “core guests.” Yet apparently if I would like to communicate with Target in some manner related to my blogs, I will be told that I am not worthy. Does this mean that, vicariously, my readers are not welcome as well?

I am not the type to get overly worked up over such things and I’m sure that I will continue to shop at Target. But I do now find myself questioning future mentions of Target on my blogs. I can, and often do, purchase items for review at Walgreens and CVS, both of which have worked indirectly with me on products sold exclusively in their stores via PR agents representing those products. Perhaps in regard to business purchases and decisions, I should be focusing more exclusively on them?

According to The Daily Dog, Target is looking at adjusting their policy. I hope that do.

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  1. Bravo Carleen…well said.

  2. I agree 100%. I shop at Target, my readers shop at Target and yet we are dismissed as not being “core guests”? I guess the hundreds of dollars a month that I spend there doesn’t count anymore.

  3. Wow, I can’t believe such a seemly “fashion-forward” company would think that blog readers are not a part of their core audience. That’s rediculous! Hope they open their eyes and adjust their “policy”. Thanks for the coverage!

  4. I’m glad you chose to bring this to your readers’ attention. Whether Target likes it or not, blogs are read by millions. Many of the opinions expressed by bloggers carry a good deal of weight with their readers because generally they are expressions by real down-to-earth people – most of them not paid by the manufacturer of the products they review.

  5. I should threaten to boycott Target. They would have to shut down the location by my house cause I spend soooooo much money there. haha. Seriously, when I look at my bank statements, all my money goes to either Target, or Starbucks.

  6. Wow. This is disappointing. I am a huge Target fan and am very surprised that they would overlook the strength of bloggers like they do. I do hope they change their policy. Thanks for posting this.

  7. Ooh, that’s a big NO NO. I agree with Mrs. Lynne, that’s disappointing. I shop at Target frequently because it’s close and convenient, and also because I like them. Thanks for sharing this bit of news, though.

  8. Big companies like this need to be more aware of who their market is and change the way they do things to be more customer friendly.

  9. gosh, thank you SO much for framing this ‘story that won’t die’ properly!

    So few have chosen the ‘one ad/kneejerk reaction’ route without seeing the larger context of the ambient ads/playground pimp toddler tees/Hooter Girl in Training objectification as originally written on Shaping Youth here: http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=969

    When the attempt to fact check/determine the context was rebuffed in an e-form write off as “non-traditional media,” THAT lit the match in the blogosphere…And it’s been a mess of “protect and deflect” ever since, dodging flamethrowers from those that haven’t read the whole story or misconstrued the context to being about ‘one ad’ when it was clearly about the surround sound environs of the retail atmosphere/normalization of objectification even in a family store…(in other words, the post was saying, “Et Tu, Target? Et tu?”)

    Anyway, thanks for getting it right…score yet another one for the blogosphere over mainstream media.

    As for the NYT dissing ‘beauty bloggers’ in generalist terms, seems like another ‘here we go again’ media moment…

  10. Meh. I have always found Target to be pretty much useless. Never understood what all the fuss was about.

  11. Aww that’s too bad. I’m from the Philippines so obviously there’s no Target store here however as a blogger, I can emphatize with you. We buy products from their stores and make a review on them and reach more than a thousand people reading about our blogs, getting across their products and yet they think bloggers are not worthy. I hope they change their thinking.

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