I’m writing this post late in the game here. And if if it’s true that I’m late in the game in writing this, then what I’m about to write will probably be proved to be true as well.
But first, let me point out a few things…
I agree with Amy that the ad was offensive. While my opinion on this isn’t nearly as strong as Amy’s, the women in the photo has her crotch directly over the bullseye. She’s spread eagle in what can be described in a position that says she’s about to have intercourse. She’s also in a position that says she’s making snow angels, a favorite pastime of anyone who grew up in an area that gets a significant amount of snow. But you know what? I doubt you’d see a man in an ad like this.
I think the ad agency and the marketing people knew this before tha ad went out but didn’t really care. Some would call that “pushing the envelope”.
I know Amy (only from online conversations and a couple of phone calls) and she is not doing this a very conservative religious person or a very liberal feminist. She’s actually more of a moderate who (quite often rightly in my opinion) sees the oversexualization in advertising as not a good thing. Or the portrayal of woman as all being thin and gorgeous. Stuff like that can have a bad effect on girls and young women. That’s why we had the Dove campaign that drew so much praise.
I will also add that I often find that people in advertising tend to be somewhat left/libertarian on most issues and, in the quest for pushing the envelope, they like to often get in the craw of what many would call “traditional values”.
And I fully agree the the criticism that many of us are making that Target’s response was unprofessional, ignorant, and a bit elitist. It made me lose respect for the company. But you know what? At least they responded. Most companies wouldn’t even give the courtesy of what Amy received. Instead, they’d just ignore the complaint, leaving the blogger frustrated that they didn’t hear back.
But let’s get real here blogosphere. This is a short term story that won’t have much longterm impact. It’s not a fiasco, nor is it an outrage. It’s not about the tremendous power of the blogosphere or how one company learned its lesson and they’re now washing the egg off their face.
Let’s start by pointing out that many of the bloggers upset with this pointedly did not take issue with the ad in question. It was an issue that they didn’t want to touch. Whether or not it was offensive was conveniently put aside. I’m not saying that to take them to task, but that lack of blogger outrage at the ad itself shows me that the passion behind the blog posts on this issue is simply related to Target’s policies. While the blogosphere is rightly upset at this, quite often many of us have attention spans that last a week on issues such as this.
If most agreed that an ad like this was offensive and were outraged, Target would be in deep shit. The company is not, and they’re not going to be.
OK, so this escapade made the New York Times. Great. And what is Target’s response? Their blogger relations policy is “under review”. That’s a catch all phrase that delays any type of meaningful dialogue. I’m sure it IS under review and, yes, they’ll change some things, but I’d be Target isn’t undergoing a great awakening. Not by far.
The Times reported that the ads will also stay in place. No surprise there. And I bet that no one from Target gets fired or reprimanded. The account probably won’t be put under review. It will blow over. So be it.
The blogosphere is growing in power and shouldn’t be ignored. And Target was incredibly stupid to have those policies in place. But in the end, this story was about just that – bloggers pissed that one of them was ignored. It will last two or three weeks and not effect Target one bit. Their foot traffic, sales, and stock price will not change.
Meanwhile, the spread eagle crotch still looks out over Times Square