Target Refuses To Talk To Bloggers And "Non-Traditional Media Outlets"

A Target billboard depicting a woman spreadeagled over a Target logo with her vagina centered squarely on the bullseye has some parents and feminists all riled up. One of them, Amy from ShapingYouth.org, contacted Target to see if they realized, you know, that their ad had a woman’s crotch centered on a bullseye.

Their response has us sort of baffled:

“Good Morning Amy,

Thank you for contacting Target; unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with non-traditional media outlets. This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest.

Once again thank you for your interest, and have a nice day.”

Whatever you may think of the ad, (we don’t really care) the idea that blogs do not reach Target’s “core guest” is idiotic. This website is a non-traditional media outlet and we’re certain that our readers shop at Target.

Taking Aim at Target: Think That V is a CoinkyDink? [ShapingYouth]
Target Snubs Offended Parent Who Blogs [TheDeets]
Target Corporation assumes feminism is dead; dismisses bloggers [PEM]
Vagina Ads [BuzzFeed]
Target Targets Female Target [AdRants]

Comments

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  1. Bay State Darren says:

    I was wondering why this ad suddenly made feel like shopping at Target.

  2. forever_knight says:

    care about this? get a freakin life.

  3. manok says:

    I used to work for Target Distribution as a “Group Leader” I quit after three months, what a dopey place to work for. Their reply doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  4. tk427 says:

    Pretend you’re Fox News.

  5. youbastid says:

    Oh puh-leez! I don’t blame Target for not responding. Sure it’s centered right on there, but there is nothing else that’s suggestive about it in the least bit. It’s their corporate logo, and they’re making fun use of it. You have to realllly be looking in order to get upset over this.

    I do think that their reason for not responding was just an excuse and a shut-the-hell-up. Have they ever given y’all this reasoning? (If you tried to contact them about anything in the past)?

  6. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Stop hiring horny teenagers to make your ads, and this will all go away… hopefully…

  7. m4ximusprim3 says:

    her vagina isn’t even in the middle- theyre actually emphasizing her left thigh. Feminists are so sensitive.

    Also, it seems like blogs usually encourage people not to shop at target. Can’t really blame them for not liking you. Plus, I’ll bet they’re scared you’ll turn off their TV’s :)

  8. sled_dog says:

    well, not QUITE EXACTLY centered…..

  9. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    *sigh*

    jeez… nothing better to bitch about today I guess?

    I would say that not talking to bloggers is a policy because they could very well be contacted by all of the millions of bloggers, a majority of whom have very limited readership, yet feel they are now part of the media.

    Perhaps it would be wize to consider the source asking for the interview before giving a blanket “No” to bloggers, but looking at it from a corporate structure point of view, who do you pay to research who is and isnt “media?” Its probably easier to just stick to traditional news outlets.

    Also… and this is a BIG probability… traditional news sources are probably not going to waste their time wanting a comment on a stupid ad that is only seen as perverted by people with that mindset.

    The last thing I thought when I saw the ad was that the woman vagina was in the center of the target. But then again, I have better things to do than be a morality nazi. Not many better things… but at least a few.

  10. UpsetPanda says:

    There’s nothing suggestive about this advertisement! Talk about seeing something that isn’t there…

  11. GothamGal says:

    As a woman, I want to get all riled up about this, but I’m too busy thinking about makeup and babies.

  12. Snowcone says:

    I could care less about the ad as I think someone is reading too much into this, but I definitely shop at Target with frequency. As a blogger and someone in the “non-traditional media outlet” arena, I don’t really care about that policy. It’s not going to defer me from shopping there.

  13. youbastid says:

    @sled_dog: You know, I bet they were shooting with it perfectly centered, then someone at the shoot said, “You know what? Better move her off to the right a little bit – we don’t want those feminist blogs to get in a huff about this.”

  14. Adam Hyland says:

    @youbastid: I’m not entirely sure that everyone share’s that opinion. I’m a guy, and I can laugh at it, but I’m not at all surprised that someone would find it offensive.

    It’s a woman laying spread eagle over a bullseye. At the center of the bullseye is her vagina.

    If you can’t say those two sentences to your daughter and your mother, then it’s offensive. And WTF. It’s the marketing platform of a department store that is trying to cater to young women.

    Oh well.

    about the “no comments to bloggers” thing. We’ll see how well that goes after the next few shitstorms over something silly target does.

  15. deadlizard says:

    I agree with Target. This is not worth responding. Whoever considers this offensive has way too much time to waste.

  16. HOP says:

    we don’t shop at target….it’s a dull store,and the prices seem to be a little higher than some of the other stores……..

  17. Life_Sandwich says:

    I would hardly say that there’s a target “on” her vagina, but I won’t stop you from being offended. If you really want to be.

  18. weggles90 says:

    It does suck that weblogs are thought of as second class media, is it time for a a blog rights movement :P?

    Also, anyone who thinks that ad is sexist/what ever… get a life.

  19. Elviswasntmyhero says:

    OBVIOUS MAN ALERT: Media & marketing have an influence on children.

    We now return you to the porno already in progress.

  20. Alexander says:

    One issue with blogs is that it’s sometimes hard to tell if it is a legitimate and established blog or just someone with access to the internet, basic typing skills, time and the believe that someone out there cares about what they have to say. Take a look at Digg. The vast majority of their blog submissions are from, because of lack of a better term, a bunch of nobodies.

  21. dapuddle says:

    You know, if this is what gets feminist’s all riled up these days, we are doing all right after all.

  22. youbastid says:

    @Hyland: Is that the case? Why is the placement of her crotch something I have to be comfortable talking to my parents and/or kids about? “I saw a girl walking down the street yesterday, and her vagina was in her pants.” Is that necessary?

    Maybe if their corporate logo wasn’t a bullseye, I’d wonder why they chose to use a bullseye. And maybe if not for the eye’s natural preference for symmetry, I would have questioned why they chose to position her in the middle of it.

    Don’t forget that this ad is winter themed. Her outspread arms imply that she’s going through the motions of making a snow angel. To see her as spread eagled with her vagina in the middle of a bullseye suggests more of the viewer than it does of the ad.

  23. theblackdog says:

    I bet that this is more of an issue with their ad agency than with Target itself, so the bloggers are barking up the wrong tree.

  24. warf0x0r says:

    Damnit Target you’re better than that. If you go all up your own ass I’ve got no where left to go. /sniff

  25. Coder4Life says:

    Maybe all of us bloggers should BOYCOTT Target for 1 week and see what happens….

    Every single reader of Gawker not goto Target, and then show them whats up..

  26. TheSeeker says:

    She should be wearing one of those skimpy skirts instead of those long pants. Then there’d be something to talk about.

  27. parad0x360 says:

    @Dr.Ph0bius: exactly. The only thing i thought of when i saw this ad was snow angels…

  28. JessiesMind says:

    Chick is centered on the entire target. Head, hands and feet on outer circle. Hang on, lemme find my center. Well, I’ll be damned. It’s my crotch. The only people beating down feminism are the feminists themselves. Get over it, ladies.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go re-center.

    Bullseye!

  29. balthisar says:

    You know, despite the ad, I’ve got to agree with Target. Anybody can claim to be a “blogger.” Companies don’t have unlimited resources to provide well researched answers to every Joe Blow that shows up and claims to be a blogger. Hell, if you showed up claiming to be Podunk Times, they’d probably verify who you are at first. This isn’t an indictment against Consumerist, either. They have no idea who you are. If there were an accepted Nielson for blogs (or some other authoritative source), you’d be highly respected, reach-wise. But until then, anyone’s a blogger.

    Recognizing blogs as press for press events is another matter. Give you some space on the floor, and that’s it.

  30. MercuryPDX says:

    I wonder if Consumerist is considered “non-traditional”.

    Let’s try an experiment involving calling their corporate offices, and saying we shop Target* AND read Consumerist and see if their view changes.

    *Commentors who have previously vowed to “never shop Target again!” need not apply.

  31. rachaeljean says:

    I kind of agree with everyone re: who cares? But the fact that they won’t talk to ANY bloggers – even, say, the Mighty Consumerist!? – is kind of lamesauce. +1 more to Wal-Mart.

  32. BlinkyGuy says:

    Look, I am as much a horny dog as the next guy, but I just can’t see it in this billboard. When I look at it, I find my eyes drawn up to her smile, not centered on her crotch.

    It’s not as if she were wearing a bikini or wrapped in a towel. Just looks like a pretty girl having fun to me. If this offends you, you might want to take a look at your obsession with sex and female body parts more than the mindset of the advertiser.

    I would bet that there are quite a few billboards in close proximity to this one that are more sexual and offensive.

  33. Freedomboy says:

    Circle of life joke

  34. GinaLouise says:

    @dapuddle:
    Y’know, I’m a feminist, and I don’t get riled up by this ad. Now, if we want to discuss pay inequality, global lack of access to family planning options and … Hey, where are y’alls going?

  35. jblake1 says:

    Should we then be upset about ads about Kotex and Massengill. I know for sure those ads “target” womens vagina’s.

  36. bluecashier says:

    What I see when looking at this picture is a person laying on a red & white target, legs and arms extended, dressed in white with red, laughing and having fun. There is no subliminal message. If you want to imagine this person’s vagina; fine; keep it to yourself. Lighten up!! Enjoy the fun Target ad picture without microscopic examination.. Life is too short…

  37. rjhiggins says:

    @HOP: Well that certainly advances this discussion.

  38. Bay State Darren says:

    I honestly have trouble believing the gynecological centering [or near-centering] of the photo was accidental. But I really doubt that having this ad on public display will traumatize children or anything. I really don’t find it more offensive than most of the previous 1,999,999,999,999+ advertisements that have been made around the female anatomy. It’s amore subtle form of what the marketing industries been doing since they started.

  39. Scuba Steve says:

    Funny that Target basically insulted its “core market” by saying they didn’t use the internet.

  40. 8abhive says:

    Complete the sentences:

    “Target does not participate with non-traditional media outlets…” that do not fall under the influence of our marketing dollars.

    If someone’s offended, should I feel dirty for trying to measure the distance from her vagina to the target’s center?

  41. magic8ball says:

    It can have a sexual connotation without being offensive. Is there a possible sexual interpretation to this picture? Sure. Was it intentional on the part of the agency that created the ad? Almost certainly. Does it rise to the level of “offensive”? I don’t think so, and I tend to skew conservative when it comes to issues like sex in advertising. But I do think this image – and images like it – are worth discussing, in terms of visual rhetoric if nothing else.

  42. arcticJKL says:

    Next time Target issues a press release about something they are excited about Consumerist should ask them for more information and see if they respond to non-traditional media.

  43. Buran says:

    I don’t care about the picture, but their response reeks of sneering “We’re better than your crappy blog”.

    Earth to Target: the definition of what’s traditional media is going to be changing really fast in the next few years. It’s already changed a lot in the last few.

    Get with the freakin’ program.

  44. overbysara says:

    that’s silly (the response to the ad)

  45. Witera33it says:

    This ad is less sexual than an American Apparel ad. I do however find my eye drifting to her crotch because it’s an upshot near centered on a it. Hitting anywhere in the center circle of a target is a bulls-eye. Her crotch is in the bulls-eye. Offensive? No. Suggestive? Absolutely. If one is the kind of feminist that wants to neuter everyone to prevent “objectifying the female form,” then sure, this is super offensive. Women’s vaginas shouldn’t be a bulls-eyes.

  46. Super1984 says:

    Well, I didn’t really think, “man, her vagina is on the bullseye.” I thought, – oh wait, this ad doesn’t even really register for me.

  47. invaderzim says:

    … notes nothing wrong with the add.

  48. MBZ321 says:

    Please…I am a teenage male and if I saw the ad without the title on this article, I would have thought nothing of it (if the woman in the image was a little more attractve..that could have changed my view :P )

  49. CuriousO says:

    I am glad Target brushed them off, they obviously don’t have anything better to do. If I wouldn’t of read this story I would have never thought this ad was offensive in any way.

  50. Id_LQQK says:

    Bloggs like the one attacking the ad (and blowing it way out of proportion)are the reason it may be considered “second class media.” The blog looses its fire when you need some cheese to read it.
    Stop making a mountain out of a mound…I had to…

  51. Counterpoint says:

    I would be the vast majority of people who are offended by this ad do not live in a cold climate. Anyone who does thinks immediately of snow angles, not that her legs are spread to target her vagina…

    Besides, get rid of all of the feminine hygiene product advertisements that are always on TV, and then we can talk about not targeting vaginas.

  52. Counterpoint says:

    *I would bet* it should have said. Dang lack of edits

  53. socritic says:

    Why the surprise? it’s only Target. And actually, looking at the ad, it’s really not a big deal, there have been ads through the years that were much worse, this is not sexual in nature, just bad positioning.

  54. gartrip says:

    I think this was just Target’s way of saying, “Fuck you, kthnxby.” At least they were nice about it.

  55. Chupachoad says:

    The ad, and Target’s response have no affect on my long standing decision to avoid Target. A friend of mine drug me into one of their stores recently. It was everything I hate about Wal-Mart, with higher prices and less selection. I will give them one attaboy over Wal-Mart: the parking lot was not as dangerous. I would be willing to park a 10 year old vehicle in a Target parking lot, but am not willing to put anything that new at risk in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

  56. cmdr.sass says:

    The people who think this ad is somehow suggestive or offensive to women really need to go outside and get some fresh air.

  57. dgcaste says:

    What if this is a transvestite and the target is centered on his wang???

  58. Onouris says:

    Or better still, what if it was a man and it was centred there? No-one would give a crap. Just as no-one should give a crap about this.

  59. MercuryPDX says:

    @Buran: And when the great media rebellion comes, they’ll be nth against the wall.

    Haxxor teh plan3t!

    @Onouris: one of those blogs up there linked to pictures of teh same ad, but with a man. My only comment was they needed to shoot photo #1 with a better camera, and in photo #2 (crotch grab aside…) his legs were blocking the store name. Figures I can’t find them now :(

  60. shaner5000 says:

    I thought the overall image looked more like a clock. Time to go to Target and stock up on some vaginas.

  61. RagingTowers says:

    I’d hate to see the “Split the arrow Trick” Robin Hood is famous for..

  62. Squeezer99 says:

    too bad she’s not naked

  63. inspiron says:

    As an employee of target I am not responding to this non traditional discussion.

    -Mike the cart pusher

  64. I don’t know… If I saw that image as a random billboard with that alone… it’d look pretty damn provocative. As that is not the situation, meh.

  65. Without this post, I’d have had no idea that Target in the USA has a corporate policy that all customers must be referred to as “guests”.

    When I have guests, I don’t usually ask them to buy stuff, or check their bags as they leave. I usually ask them if they’d like a beer or something, too.

    Perhaps I’m doing it wrong.

  66. whitjm5 says:

    @weggles90:

    Perhaps a reason some are thought of as “second class” is because they sensationalize stories that aren’t worth the time it takes to type them.

    Consumerist, I usually love you guys, but you wasted your time with the inquiry to target. It’s a non-story, really.

  67. samurailynn says:

    @Daniel

    Maybe it’s because you’re not reaching your “core guests”.

  68. whitjm5 says:

    @Id_LQQK:

    Sorry Id LQQK, didn’t mean to steal your comments. You had just already typed near exactly what I was thinking (I would’ve said mole hill instead of mound) and I didn’t read every post first.

  69. quentin says:

    Reading the comments on that blog make me want to blow my brains out with a handgun.

  70. Trai_Dep says:

    The ad would have been MUCH better had certain accessories been placed, on an ad-rotating basis, on the lower part of the target sign, pointed upwards.

    Umbrellas… Toilet plungers… Italian salamis… Dysan vacuums… Labradors…

    Boy, talk about missed co-marketing opportunities!

  71. andy966 says:

    This world is so easily offended by everything. Give me a effin break. OMG! All the young women are going to go get pregnant because they saw this target ad. C’mon, is there really nothing else to b*tch about? PLEASE… if I was target, I would ignore such attempts as well. Please go find a real cause to fight for.

  72. Optimistic Prime says:

    I’m a filthy S.O.B. who can take anything innocent and make it really dirty. The first thing I saw in this ad was a broad making snow angels for Christ’s sake.

  73. MelL says:

    @whitjm5: How exactly is voicing a concern to a company a waste of time, especially when they say they wish to reach their customers, while at the same time blowing off their customers in the same breath? In my opinion, the it’s not so much the subject matter that is the issue so much as it is the attitude of ignoring inquiries based on the source, despite the impression it gives.

    A company can spend millions on their image and all it takes is one person to make it a wasted effort.

  74. crankymediaguy says:

    Forget the “centered vagina” thing. What’s really interesting here is Target’s “we don’t talk to bloggers” policy.

    So, the next time someone bitches about Target on Consumerist and it turns into a big deal, no P.R. flack is going to contact Consumerist to “set the record straight”?

    Anyone believe that?

  75. bdgbill says:

    I’m convinced that the people who complain about this kind of thing have much dirtier minds than the people who produce it. I never would have seen anything suggestive in this ad.

    Oh, and just because every kid and housewife with a blogger account thinks they are a journalist doesn’t make it true.

  76. IrisMR says:

    As a woman I find the ad funny. (And anything that pisses feminists off makes me laugh)

    But the matter at hand with Target is REALLY annoying and insulting. I’m sad that we don’t have any here because I could tell you right now that I would never go shop to Target ever again.

  77. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    I don’t see a thing wrong with this ad, and I don’t blame Target for not responding. I’m a woman, and I can’t stand feminists who freak out about this kind of thing. Seriously, ladies, you need to get out more often.

  78. Amy Alkon says:

    Target’s “we don’t talk to bloggers” policy.

    I’m a blogger, and I’m not offended. They’re just trying to be polite. What they mean, in this case, is “We don’t talk to idiots in need of a hobby.”

  79. hollywood2590 says:

    When they say “non traditional” they probably mean shitty. They do not respond to shitty media outlets. And anyone who finds this offensive obviously falls into that category.

  80. endersshadow says:

    Ah, nothing like the good old American sense of entitlement couple with hypersensitivity to anything dealing with the portrayal of women. Woo!

  81. misteral says:

    Technically speaking, that picture uses the “Rule of thirds” [en.wikipedia.org]

    Essentially, divide the picture into 3 sections horizontally and vertically. Most of the subject (the woman) is contained inside the top left third.

  82. eyeteeth says:

    Target says they’re revamping their no-blogs policy, admitting that their media policy is “conservative.” “In today’s media world, we recognize it’s worth revisiting,”a spokester said, referring to the deflating newspaper industry. “We understand that the public is looking for more transparency, both from government and from corporations.”

  83. Saboth says:

    They should have done that shot with a bikini with a camel toe imo.

  84. NFlames says:

    Wow, look at that a woman with her vah-jay-jay nearly centered on a target, and so scantily clad as well, I’m so offended. Seriously who goes around bitching about ads like this? The people who have time to pitch a fit about this have WAY too much time and should consider volunteering at a children’s hospital, battered women’s shelter…SOMETHING!

  85. zackm says:

    Target used to refuse to talk to the trade press as well. I used to work at a financial services publication and they declines all interviews.

  86. MeOhMy says:

    Bloggers aren’t held to journalistic integrity standards. If I was a PR flack, I’d tell bloggers to sod off as well. It’s hard enough keeping the news correspondents honest!

  87. That70sHeidi says:

    I thought she was making a snow Target-Angel… and I have a really really dirty mind. So… not offensive/offended.

    With the rare exception of about .08% of bloggers, they AREN’T considered media, at all.

  88. valsharess1 says:

    @Dr.Ph0bius: Agreed. People have too much time on their hands if they are worried about this.

  89. ogman says:

    Somebody needs (a) a life, (b) to get over being so horny that they see sex in everything, and (c) a brain. Now, I’m going to go shopping…at Target!

  90. ogman says:

    @Amy Alkon: Exactly!

  91. snoop-blog says:

    personally i don’t see anything wrong with the ad……that’s exactly how i see all women. okay, bad joke, but i couldn’t resist.

  92. Soldmysoul says:

    This was probably just Targets polite way of telling them not to ask stupid questions.

  93. IrisMR says:

    @That70sHeidi: That’s probably what she was supposed to do. Snow angel joke. The guy that made the ad maybe thought about centering the fun zone there but I think it’s possible that this is an accident.

    I gotta agree with Ogman. People see sex everywhere. Frankly, I think that the bad feminist types out there see offenses to women EVERYWHERE. I think they are just frustrated they can’t score.

  94. j-damn says:

    Too bad JC Penney’s didn’t think of this first ["It's all inside!"].

  95. whitjm5 says:

    @mell: I could see if it were something where a large group of people had the vagina-bullseye as their initial thought, but I think it’s just hyped. Someone was looking for something that wasn’t there and inquired accordingly. It’s like the old question where someone asks “When did you stop beating your wife?” It’s meant to imply guilt where none exists and the best response is silence (or a punch in the face).

  96. strathmeyer says:

    “This website is a non-traditional media outlet and we’re certain that our readers shop at Target.”

    So, should I stop visiting?

  97. EJXD2 says:

    This policy makes sense to me. Blogs have zero accountability. It’s lose-lose for the company.

  98. TheOtherJen says:

    I work for a non-consumer magazine and I contacted them just to mention one of their products for a story I’m working on, and they said no! Basically said the same thing to me. Even though when I was previously working a large consumer magazine, they had no problem. Turning down free publicity is not smart. They were so haughty about it too.

  99. MelL says:

    @whitjm5: Silence, at least in this case, is the absolute worse thing that could resort to. Why, on might ask? Because you’re leaving everything to the imagination of those following the story. It might sound nice to say you’re blowing it off, but silence can often times be taken as a sign that there is something to it. While they didn’t say yes, they also didn’t say no.

    Hmmmm! :p

  100. Hello_Newman says:

    Yeah we should make up a print paper that only gets sent to a few people, then contact them from the “National News Insider” to get a response. It’s simply foolish to ignore a blog read by thousands when they will respond to the “Hatred Missouri Picayune” just because it’s in print. All they have to do is an alexa and google PR check to see if an Internet blog is for real.

  101. cherpep says:

    Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to respond that this ad is simply one of many winter fun ads – she is making snow angels, no sexual implications were intended?

    No, Target simply doesn’t care about the consumer or consumer groups – they are much too arrogant to give these people a respectful reply.

  102. HeartBurnKid says:

    I’m not at all offended by the ad, but I am pretty offended by Target’s blanket stance that bloggers and blog-readers simply aren’t worth even a canned response.

    How many people read blogs like Consumerist every day? Target is basically saying they don’t give a crap about you. I’d say the feeling’s mutual, but then I’d have to go shop at… *shudder*… Wal-Mart.

  103. Felix the Cat says:

    On Feb 19th Target Corporation lost a long running Federal civil suit in Oklahoma City and the jury awarded $500,000 to Timothy S Therrien Case No 06 CV 217 JHP-FHM. Documents can be found at: [targetfiling.blogspot.com]

    Customer Therrien came to the assistance of a Target security guard who was attempting to apprehend a shoplifter and called out for anyone to come help him. Therrien was knifed by the thief and Target refused to pay for his medical care. Therrien eventually filed suit and after a long slog finally got a judgement.