Target Learns the Hard Way: Astroturf Evangelism Gets Yo' Ass Skinned
To try building hype, Target started a secret society called Target Rounders. The group is comprised of college kids who earn discounts, CDs and other goodies if they sing the praises of Target to friends and family.
We heard about the group from Rosie Siman, a 21-year-old member of the group and a senior at the University of Georgia. Apparently shit really hit the fan when Target circulated a Rounders newsletter in early October, saying the company would be launching a Facebook group.
Oh, Facebook. All roads, good and ill, lead to you, don't they?
According to Siman, the newsletter reads:
"Your Mission: try not to let on in the Facebook group that you are a Rounder [...] We love your enthusiasm for the Rounders, and I know it can be hard not to want to sing it from the mountaintops (and in the shower, and on the bus ...). However, we want to get other members of the Facebook group excited about Target, too! And we don't want the Rounders program to steal the show from the real star here: Target and Target's rockin' Facebook group. So keep it like a secret!"
For those not in the know, "KEEP IT LIKE A SECRET!" has got to be the best way to shoot yourself in the foot. No, wait. Trying to get people to talk up your brand, without revealing they're getting perks from you, is the best way.
We thought you were better than this, Target. Did you learn nothing from the lessons of Wal-Mart, Sony and Coca-Cola?