Alex Blaze

Target's Silly Diversity Video

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 10, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: LGBT, Minnesota, Target

I don't know if this diversity video from Target is actually supposed to be a response to the bad press they've been getting around LGBT issues lately, but it sure seems like it:

It's weird how much of this they seem to think is just about people's perception of them instead of about the substance of their actions. While they could simply promise not to donate to political campaigns (and follow-through) and stop trying to squash people's free speech rights, they seem to have come to the conclusion that the entire controversy is that some people believe that Target actually hates queers.

That's impossible. Target is a corporation, and corporations are value-less viruses. Their only concern is to increase profits and then use the money to increase profits next quarter. That's it. They aren't homophobic or gay-friendly or conservative or liberal anything unless they think appearing to be one of those things or advancing one of those agendas will help the bottom line.

The only message I'm seeing in that video is: "We're willing to sell anyone stuff to get their money! Don't you accept that as profound?" And why shouldn't they think people will be duped with advertising like that? They already believe that the only problem with their anti-worker, anti-LGBT, and anti-democratic contributions (stress on that "s" since everyone thinks the donations stopped after the outcry) was a PR error.

In the 90's entire brands that existed for nothing other than to enrich a small group of people at the expense of working people all over the globe were able to put racial minorities in their commercials or co-opt feminist language and claim to be progressive. When identity politics is reduced down to such superficial terms, a corporation can make people think that its agenda of consolidating wealth and power in the hands of people who tend to be white, male, and conservative is the exact opposite of what it is in reality.

Judging from the comments on this video at The Advocate, though, Target still has a ways to go.


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John Gagon | April 10, 2011 4:29 PM

I've seen this same video concept OVER and *over*. It's that "normal diverse human smiling face of the corporate tool" marketing concept showing crisp, well-washed folks watering lawns, laughing, wearing flower bonnets (and seeing if prescription Z is right for them). The token minority experience usually has the kind of black people who have the mop tops and freckles/mulatto look, not the 50 cent do rag look. It's sanitized multiculturalism at it's plutocratic ethnocentric-lite worst.

Real multiculturalism/anethnocentricity is more likely to be found in documentaries, seldom in commercials.

Basically, when I see a commercial like this, I mumble "pandering bigotry" and walk out for a smoke break. It deserves nothing less than groans and mockery in my honest opinion. I would like to see this stop or parody sites to do more with this.

John Gagon | April 10, 2011 4:32 PM

Perhaps what annoys me most is that most people are duped by this or that the marketing folk don't think some of us are catching onto this "impossible to reject" marketing.

Leigh Anne | April 10, 2011 6:23 PM

No, they don't get it. We'll put up with anything else they do, as long as they don't contribute to politicians who are anti-gay-agenda. Without regard to their positions on things like war, unions, exploitation of the poor, etc.

Even the fact that they have a clean, bright, safe store in one of the poorest areas of my town, and have been hiring lesbians and gays for many, many years, don't matter if they've been cutting checks to pro-corporate, pro-profit candidates who are also anti-gay!

We can't have that.

So they strain themselves trying to placate us.

Christina Shadid | April 10, 2011 8:29 PM

No matter what they say Target does discriminate against queers... I know because I worked there for 5 and a half years and was ultimately fired for being a open lesbian after new Management came in the store I worked in... Unfortunately in a right to work state companies can fire you if they don't like how you look... As long as their Management puts something other than why you were actualy fired.This was told to me by a employee at the Idaho labor board

I would assume most people aren't aware of the controversy surrounding Target's contributions to anti-gay corporations. So when they see this video they might wrongly assume that Target really embraces diversity. What a smokescreen this video is.

I think alex is perfectly on target (pardon the pun) when pointing out that it's the bottom line that's important to any corporation. Sure, being (or appearing to be) diverse is important -- to the bottom line.

Call me when they get unionized and I'll reconsider. A bit.

Well I live right down the street from Target's corporate offices, and, of course, Target has a dominant presence in downtown Minneapolis. They pretty much get their way by threatening to move their headquarters if anyone in city or state government ever stands up to them. On the other hand, they do contribute 5% of their profits to charities (a leftover legacy from the Dayton corporation which used to be the parent company). And they do trumpet their diversity whenever and however they can. A couple of years ago I proposed that they consider adopting a human rights policy and no one ever responded. Obviously this is pure PR as opposed to any commitment to diversity and/or human rights. It's corporate profits all the way!!!

Rick Sutton | April 11, 2011 11:18 AM

I'm having a hard time working up a lather over Target's actions...except, of course, that we have a choice where we buy toothpaste and TVs.

Their corporate execs donated their own money to a PAC and that PAC donated to some pretty disgusting causes/candidates. We know now.

Their landlords have a sticky problem regarding solicitations on-property. Some take the all/nothing approach: ban everything, even the SalArmy bell-ringers. At least that's consistent.
Property owners have the right to adopt appropriate regulations regarding property ingress/egress.

The trouble with the solicitation thing is, Target owns about half their properties, including the one in question, so they can't hide behind a "landlord's rules."

Their execs make a ton, off our purchases, and they promote the hell out of that 5% thing, and they also have a far-right PAC. Glad to know it. There are other places to buy staples.

But we need a good scorecard so we can make choices. HRC's is mildly OK, but has kinks (frequency of updates, etc). But there's a meltdown on this "Places I Shop" scorecard thing:

Be careful how you monitor, or you may be driving ten miles out of your way to pick up TP.

The sad truth is, corporate retail execs are mostly-wealthy, mostly far-right and some border on creepy: think Hobby Lobby. Seriously. They bombard their mail-list customers with far-right Christian evangelistic messages. They're closed Sunday, which is their right, and their ads often carry religious overtones. It must work for them.

These retal execs have risen through the ranks in that culture, and we can't change it quickly. Absent a complete loud boycott. One that works.

Meanwhile, we have sufficient facts, thanks to Alex's post and other blogs/news accounts, to form our own opinions.

If the critical mass on Target execs' stupidity, reaches an intolerable level, we need to act. Is it there yet?

John Gagon | April 11, 2011 8:27 PM

I think I can trust these advertisement actors because they aren't wearing any glamor celebrity make-up. I mean, they could be your neighbors so they are, in all likelihood trustworthy decent people! It's just so "real" and unfiltered!

(that is until they turn into zombies mumbling target slogans and start breaking into your home and chasing you down the street after 11pm). That lady's voice reminds me of the kind of stewardess in the film Anger Management.