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Posts Tagged ‘Target’

Target Overhauls Security, Makes Overdue Decision … Sorta

Target-Rain

Thanks to a certain credit breach, someone at Target has been crying the blues.

The holiday season was not the most wonderful time of the year for Target thanks to some cybernetic miscreants living in their grandmama’s garage. On December 19, the bulls-eyed retailer reluctantly disclosed a data breach that compromised 40 million accounts. That was trumped by the admission of stolen personal information one month later — including names, phone numbers, and email and mailing addresses — from as many as 70 million customers.

And that’s when you would assume someone in technology would be refreshing a resume, right? An intern? Some IT manager? A PR director (since we get blamed for most things anyway)? Nope, according to the hometown Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Target went angling for a much larger fish.

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Amazon Is America’s ‘Most Favored’ Brand

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We probably shouldn’t have been surprised by the findings of YouGov‘s 2013 Top Buzz ranking survey. Despite the negative news about labor struggles, the release of tell-all tome The Everything Store, the non-existent profit margins and the persistence of the “Massive, Faceless Retailer Shutters Mom and Pop Sellers” narrative, Amazon scored quite a few media wins this year. How could we forget:

In short, the survey is a micro-portrait of the retail world: Walmart is the old school and Amazon resembles the future, like it or not.

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So, That Target Breach Actually Affected 70 Million Customers

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The story that won our unofficial “biggest corporate PR Fail of 2013” contest just got worse.

This morning we learned that the number of customers affected by Target‘s credit card security breach just went all astronomical on us, reaching a total nearly double that listed in initial reports. Here’s the worst line from that sob story:

“Target said the personal data stolen could affect its past shoppers — not just those who have visited the store recently.”

The company added that the information taken could include names, addresses, phone numbers and emails (in addition to those ATM PIN numbers).

Talk about a Friday Dump. We offer our closest approximation of the appropriate response after the jump.

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Survey Shows SeaWorld’s Reputation Damaged but Intact

It's gonna be OK. Not really though.

“It’s gonna be OK, boy (not really though).”

We’ve written a good bit about SeaWorld’s reputation struggles recently; we even included the company on our list of 2013′s “biggest losers“, because have you seen Blackfish? Damn.

You can’t always trust social media, though: a recent survey by YouGov‘s Brand Index shows us that the damage might not be quite as bad as we thought. In fact, it’s been “comparatively far milder than other recent major crises in the news.”

Surprised?

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Target: Is Being Preggers Considered ‘Plus Size?’

It wasn’t a holly, jolly Christmas for the big box retailer. First, a breach in its data system caused Christmas to come early for the black market when many Americans’ credit and debit cards were placed in ne’er-do-wells’ stockings. Then, Target was forced to admit that the malevolent hackers also “borrowed” PIN numbers causing considerable panic for shoppers everywhere.

And just when it seems that crisis was under control, comes this:

Target Pregnant

Yes, mothers everywhere, that is a pregnant woman modeling the latest in maternity wear. And yes, she is standing under the header “Merona Women’s Plus-Size Short Sleeve Maxi Dress.” What is most appalling is this isn’t the first time this kerfuffle has happened.

ATTENTION TARGET SHOPPERS: Since your hormones are already raging, feel free to rage on customer service. Mmmmkay? Thanks.

And the Award for Corporate #PRFail of the Year Goes to…

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If we hadn’t been busy spending our holidays doing everything but shopping at Target, then we would have covered this story a little more aggressively. As is, we can reflect on its status as the worst crisis comms case of 2013.

The retailer’s big failure doesn’t lie in the breach itself; as Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel told us today, that kind of thing can happen to anyone. It’s more in the way they chose to address it.

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Actually, Target Says, ATM Card PIN Data Was Stolen, But Don’t You Worry Because…

target tweetMaybe Target thought it was on the verge of getting its data breach situation under control. If they did, they thought wrong.

The retailer issued a statement on Friday saying that it’s investigation has found that “strongly encrypted PIN data was removed from our system during the data breach incident. The most important thing for you to know is that your debit card account has not been compromised due to the encrypted PIN numbers being taken. PINs are safe and secure.”

Now, even more people are threatening lawsuits, adding to the 11 class action suits that have already been reportedly filed. Survey data reported on MarketWatch shows the retailer’s image has plunged to levels not seen since 2007, giving a leg up to competitors like Wal-Mart. And the breach is threatening the retailer’s bottom line.

This is not the way Target wanted to ring in the new year.

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This Is Why All The Backlash in the World Won’t Put a Stop To Thanksgiving Day Shopping

target black fridayMore and more around this pre-Thanksgiving time, the media is filled with stories about retailers opening their doors for Black Friday earlier than the year before. Then there are stories about the backlash — from the employees who say their Thanksgiving Day celebrations are hampered by the need to report to a job that isn’t paying early enough to justify the inconvenience, and supporters who think that it’s heartless for these retailers to commercialize the holiday.

Despite the coverage this issue has gotten, retailers keep opening earlier and earlier, to the point that Kmart will be open for 41 straight hours. Shortly after this marathon opening was announced, CNN had a story that read:

Hundreds of Kmart customers took to social media and threatened to boycott the store if it didn’t reverse its decision, so that its employees can spend Thanksgiving with their families. People called the decision “heartless,” “greedy,” “shameful” and “disgusting.”

There must be a reason that retailers would subject themselves to this type of negative publicity at a time of happiness and goodwill each year.

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Target Fails to Convince Canadians Not to Shop at Walmart

Target CanadaSo Target opened in Canada this year. Were you not aware? Neither were most Canadians. As Brand Channel put it back in 2012, Target crossed the border “politely, and bearing gifts.

The brand hit all the right opening notes, checking the charity and environmental responsibility boxes by allowing Facebook fans to donate (via the company) to their charities of choice and announcing plans to aim for LEED certification at all 124 Canadian locations. They were one of the first organizations in the country to do that, and it earned them a commendation from the Green Building Council. They even paired with a local fashion “incubator” to create a contest offering one lucky up-and-coming designer a chance to sell his or her 2014 line in Target.

So it was a three-pronged attack, and they did everything right. One problem, though: Walmart remains cheaper than Target when it comes to the basics, and that’s kind of a big deal.

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The Pimping of All the Holidays is Right On ‘Target’

Let's just go from September to December on the calendar.

Let’s just go from September to December on the calendar.

Ah, yes. The sounds of the radio are changing. The people are beginning to wear more festive clothing. The decor in the stores are getting blinged out. Sales are showing.

And it’s not even Halloween yet, you nimrods! 

Brands in retail just can’t wait for the jolly fat man to get here, so they ostensibly ignore the Great Pumpkin and forget the Plump Turkey to make way.

Yes, it’s all for profit but these giant profiteers of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are becoming Ebenezers for their foreshadowing ways. Personally, my children enjoy both Halloween and Thanksgiving before the stockings go up.

And why? Because I don’t want to end up like Target did last year. (That, and I have a skosh of class.)

According to Jeff Jones, CMO at Target, the retailer “went too soon last year” when its Christmas shopping campaign began in mid-October, he told AdAge. This season, Mr. Jones said Target won’t launch its anthem holiday ad until the first week of November. To wit, I say, “It’s about time and thank you!

Early ads [featuring #MyKindOfHoliday] will also focus on Thanksgiving to a degree the retailer has not in the past. One TV spot shows a group of friends gathering around a turkey dinner, while another will promote the price per pound of turkey — a first for the retailer. Hell, it’s a first for any money-grubbing, bah-humbug, turkeys-are-only-good-for-stuffing-my-pockets retailer.

“We have never said Thanksgiving has a place at Target. It’s a big event, and we think we have a great value proposition when you think about being a one-stop shop [for] food, home and decorating,” Mr. Jones explained.

Makes sense to me. And by highlighting that pesky holiday in-between All Hallows Eve and Show Us the Money, it will make “cents” to Target. Mazel Tov, you know, as a certain Jewish carpenter might say.

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