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Posts Tagged ‘Target’

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…

shutterstock_157365584

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.

How to Help Your Brand Connect to LGBT Audiences

Now that the majority of Americans (if not the majority of American states) have accepted same-sex marriage and effectively welcomed the LGBT community into mainstream culture, brand strategists are brainstorming over how to make the most of a large and passionate demographic. Why? Well, gay men and women do “have the largest amount of disposable income of any niche market,” so…money.

That’s according to Community Marketing Inc., a gay-centric research organization that just released its 7th annual LGBT community survey of more than 30,000 consumers in 100 different countries. Their findings should help marketing/PR pros better understand the community.

The fact that LGBT individuals “keep up with online media” isn’t much of a revelation, but here are some more interesting conclusions:

  • “LGBT” is the preferred term for gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals, though gay men are equally receptive to the phrase “gay and lesbian”. Words like “queer”, “rainbow” and “gay-welcoming” are less effective (probably because they’re condescending).
  • Consumers prefer that corporate communications refer to their legal relationships with the terms “spouse” or “husband/wife”, though “partner” also works. Dated terms like “significant other” and “gay couple” don’t test so well.

A Target Multicultural Training Document Tells Managers That Not All Hispanics Eat Burritos Or Salsa Dance

A lawsuit against Target has brought to light an employee training document –”Organization Effectiveness, Employee and Labor Relations Multi-Cultural Tips” – that offers advice to managers who work with Hispanics. According to court documents, Target was thoughtful enough to remind those in charge that:

a. Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos;

b. Music: not everyone dances to salsa;

c. Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero;

d. Mexicans (lower education level, some may be undocumented);

e. Cubans (Political refugees, legal status, higher education level); and

f. They may say ‘OK, OK’ and pretend to understand, when they do not, just to save face.

*Clears throat.*

Oh.

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Labor Groups Question The Impact The Latest Bangladeshi Safety Pact Will Have

Under pressure to take action to improve the safety conditions at Bangladeshi factories that make their goods, 17 American retailers including Walmart, Target, and Gap have signed on to the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety. However, the plan is already coming under fire from labor and human rights groups who say that the failure to include a third party monitoring system or any labor representation makes the plan, essentially, a “sham.”

The discussion over factory safety continues months after the Rana Plaza building collapse in April that killed more than 1,100 people in Dhaka. A fire in another factory in Bangladesh killed 112 people in November. In both cases, workers were making garments intended for sale by some of the biggest retail companies in the world. Walmart and Sears claim they didn’t know their goods were being made at Rana Plaza. Read more

eBay Banks on Time to Deliver Online Glory

We live. And then we die.

Time is of the essence.

The public, understandably, hates waiting for anything. We want our food fast, our deliveries now and the transactions in our lives to be instantaneous. Money comes with many benefits, but perhaps the greatest power money holds is that it can save us time. eBay, the once darling and maverick of the Internet, has now entered the time game.

The brand has just launched the eBay Now app where customers can order anything carried by partners such as Best Buy, Macy’s, REI and Target, and have it delivered within an hour. Yes, 60 minutes. The time it takes you to remember you forgot that digital camera with which you were supposed to film your interview with the star of the documentary you’ve been working on for six years. Time changes everything, and eBay is hoping that time with compel customers to pay for convenience.

Saving customers time is a marketing strategy as old as time, and has worked well for every business endeavor from convenience stores to pizza delivery. Anyone in the public who has been to a funeral knows the importance of time, and so we’re guessing eBay Now will be a popular app with consumers—particularly those consumers experiencing a moment of weakness upon discovering they’ve forgotten something important, something they need now.

Is the eBay Now app enough to catapult the brand back into the online superstardom? We’ll have to wait and see as the public decides. But we all have a friend addicted to eBay, and if addicts like one thing, it’s instant gratification.

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