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Targeting Blogs

February 4th, 2008

It’s amazing that 10 years after the creation of the blog – and a few good years after blogs helped to create the 24-hour news cycle – that a major corporation would refuse to recognize blogs as powerful news outlets.  It’s a mistake Target will hopefully not make again.

“Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets,” a public relations person wrote to ShapingYouth.com, a blog about marketing to children.

This was the billboard in Times Square that started the controversy:
target ad


ShapingYouth.com had a problem with the position of the center of Target’s logo – that it was aligned with the model’s crotch.

Quite frankly, their claim is a little ridiculous.  But still, they have the right to write about whatever they please.  So they sent an email to Target and got the response above.  But wait – Target took it a step further.

“This practice is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest,” continued Target’s PR person.

Wow – just wow.

That’s when a “traditional media outlet” stepped in.  The New York Times started asking Target questions.

Let’s keep in mind that many reporters today – mostly because of cutbacks in the newsroom, the competition created by bloggers, the 24/7 news cycle, an increasing demand by their editors for supplementary online content, OR the need to diversify beyond their regular journalistic responsibilities in preparation for the day when they are laid off or bought out – have become bloggers.

Let’s also not forget that major organizations such as Apple, Microsoft, the NFL and the White House, have granted bloggers press credentials, have granted bloggers interviews and have in some cases, provided bloggers with exclusives.

So what happened when the “legitimate” publication, NYT, asked Target for comment?

“We do not work with bloggers currently,” said a company spokeswoman, Amy von Walter, who agreed to speak with this traditional media outlet.

“But we have made exceptions,” Ms. von Walter said. “And we are reviewing the policy and may adjust it.”

So while Target may be changing their PR policy, they’re not changing their ad.  Which is all well and fine for the bloggers from ShapingYouth.com, who have gotten more attention than probably any time in the past and who will likely have fodder for months to come.

Posted Under: Digital & Social Media
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