Target Targets Female Target

target_target.jpg

Yup. we're ready for it. Ready for everyone to tell us we're reading way, way too much into this Target billboard that places a certain area of a woman's body highly targeted by men right in the middle of its signature target logo. But you can't tell us not a single soul at Target or its agency looked at this and didn't see a certain interpretation that could be construed as objectifying to women. There's just no way.

Would it have been that hard to place the image of the woman so her upper body was in the middle of the target rather than her...um...crotch? Seriously. Perhaps the initial concept had her playfully face down in a pile of snow emblazoned with her ass in the middle of the Target logo but someone at Target said, "We don't do doggy style at our organization. Flip her over please."

by Steve Hall    Jan- 7-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Outdoor   

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Comments



Comments

You guys are fuckin' obsessed. Stop it. Please.

Posted by: Simon Billing on January 7, 2008 12:52 PM

Haha... I'm sure you guys would've cum up with a similar critique had the woman been placed anywhere else on the target... "Target has its sights on your womb"... "Target wants to sit on your face"... Seriously... Don't you have anything a little more insightful to contribute? Although this post made me giggle, I think you should save the little boy humor for eBaum's World.

Posted by: Jason on January 7, 2008 1:16 PM

I don’t know about anyone else, but I had no thoughts about shopping.

Posted by: John Calkins on January 7, 2008 1:19 PM

I'm going to give Target a pass on this one: I just don't see it. Plus, I don't know how else you would depict a snow angel on a Target logo without centering it as they did.

Posted by: LAprGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] on January 7, 2008 1:52 PM

I couldn't agree more. I'm with Steve.

Posted by: Jill on January 7, 2008 2:13 PM

You're absolutely right -- this is offensive. The woman is spread-eagle, not a snow angel, and not only is the target aligned with her crotch, but the camera angle is aimed directly at the crotch. I can't say it would be any less offensive, though, if it targeted a man's genitalia.

Posted by: Catherine on January 7, 2008 3:02 PM

This is almost so blatant, I would question it's validity. Flikr is not a reputable media source. Check out this Flikr billboard.

Lawyers look at anything that goes out. Target's lawyer is either gay or trying to lose his job.

Posted by: Trev on January 7, 2008 5:36 PM

Steve, I know it's rare that we agree on crass/smarmy objectification stuff...but you are spot on. Billboards are ambient ads that we can't "turn off" as I've said so many times before, and if you check out the embedded links here to the APA study and how it's impacting kids w/all this hyper-sexualized slop, I think we'll find ourselves on the same turf more often than not.

"Taking Aim at Target: Think That V is a CoinkyDink?" is on the Shaping Youth blog here, along with my thanks:

http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=969

Posted by: Shaping Youth on January 7, 2008 5:37 PM

So my husbands first words were vagina and I would hit her target. He is not in advertising but a typical consumer that will now ask me if he can hit my target when we enter a target store for the next month or so.

Posted by: GerberGirl on January 7, 2008 11:26 PM

So my husbands first words were vagina and I would hit her target. He is not in advertising but a typical consumer that will now ask me if he can hit my target when we enter a target store for the next month or so.

Posted by: GerberGirl on January 7, 2008 11:30 PM

yo Steve - I don't mind that you used my photo, but next time give me a link or a photo credit so I get some shine for my efforts.

(Its in Times Square, by the way, probably about 20' x 20'.)

thanks.
B

Posted by: Bennett on January 8, 2008 9:49 AM

Bennett, I did link. The words "Target billboard" link directly to your Flickr page where your photo is.

Posted by: Steve Hall on January 8, 2008 9:57 AM

...as you stand before the Target OOH in Times Sq. your eyes are drawn into the V of The Snow Angel, and,yes, land on the Crotch of the Snow Angel, dressed in virginal white. Take no offense, and go with the flow in your own mind.

...as you stand outside Grand Central Terminal between the doors of K.Cole store and look up you can't help but notice the Crotch of Mercury projects outward beyond all but a few toes on Merc's right foot. Clearly, the sculptor wants your eyes to fall there, and why not?
Take no offense, and go with the flow in your own mind.

Posted by: arthur on January 9, 2008 9:51 AM

cool thanks for the link, sorry I was dumb and didn't see it - apparently my photo is making its way 'round the blog-o-sphere thanks to you. cheers!

Posted by: Bennett4Senate on January 14, 2008 10:39 PM

this is just ridiculous - our young men and women are dying in an unjust war in Iraq and people have nothing better to do with their time than try to find something sexual in an innocent target add. The hypocrasy of this is made even more apparent by the Trev's comment - Lawyers look at anything that goes out. Target's lawyer is either gay or trying to lose his job. My suggestion is to spend your time doing something important like working for peace or renewable fuels - these are the things that should keep parents up at night, not a target add!

Posted by: Brian on January 15, 2008 8:22 AM

Are you kidding me. Anyone that thinks that ad is sick has got their mind in the gutter. I see a girl making a snow angel on a target logo. Everyone get a life if you have a problem with it don't look at it and don't shop at target. I don't think they will be hurting any. For everyone that's not going to shop at target anymore because of this. I'm sure you'll be shopping there the next time you need some clothing. Give me a break. Loser!!

Posted by: Jason on January 15, 2008 3:36 PM

I didn't catch the name of the woman on the news who was interviewed regarding this but you must be going through serious menopause with numerous daily hot flashes, thus keeping sex on the front burner of her brain to even consider this ad offensive. Do you dare put this "snow angel" in the same arena with Calvin Klein or Abercrombie? How dare you offend them in a class of their own.
I understand from the news you are online daily looking for stuff like this. Get a life! Get a job!

Posted by: Morgan on January 15, 2008 9:49 PM

wow... amazing you guys waste ur time in debating this...and me even writing about it here... if you find that offensive clearly you have a problem...

Posted by: claude on January 16, 2008 12:56 PM

I wish the 'mainstream media' & blogosphere would either elevate the dialog to a much larger context of objectification/ambient advertising and the impact on pop culture, or bury it in the circular file of corporate idiocy and customer service blunders to learn from.

By focusing on this one ad for debate the entire dialog is trivialized. Really. I didn't mean to start a microlens/minutiae focus on a single ad, from AdRants, that's FAR from the primary point. I think Lisa Ray in Minnesota would heartily agree...

To me, the newsworthy element from the industry standpoint is:

1.) normalizing innuendo/objectification via family retailer (i.e. be as crass/clever as you can then feign cluelessness & over-reaction)

2.) dissing bloggers as 'non-traditional media' when I called to fact-check their motivation & campaign context

3.) parent/child advocate Lisa Ray, choosing to speak her concerns in the Minnesota corp. environs only to receive really harsh personal attacks and mega-media backwash (she's a tough cookie, so she can handle it, but is this how civility has devolved?)

4.) free press for 'tarzshay' and the potential for copycat ad strategists to see this as an opportunity to flirt on the edge of couth and tastelessness, w/fingers crossed for free press/controversy. Sheesh.

As for me, I'm flummoxed...Out of thousands of global media/mktg. topics I write about daily on Shaping Youth, using the power of media for positive change: (e.g. Twitter fundraising to send orphans to college in 24 hours, Age of Conversation global social media raising $11K for children's charity, conducting worthy media literacy, ecology, nutrition, and global counter-marketing programs for kids)...THIS is the post that got picked up in the digital hypefest for 'mainstream media' attention?

Bleh. What a shame. What a loss. What a lousy media target...

Posted by: Shaping Youth on January 16, 2008 2:13 PM

Re the comment that people are choosing to ignore the "intentional" snow angel concept: Fully half of the US population lives where snow angels are NOT common, snow doesn't fall or at least not enough that people would ever normally be thinking about snow angels. Do you really think that people in Honolulu, SF, LA, Tucson, Dallas, NOLA or Miami - at least 1/3 of our country - are thinking she is making a snow angel? We don't make snow angels here, ever. Why on earth would a sunbelt/rainbelt viewer see someone making a snow angel when there is NO SNOW and when the girl is clearly positioned with her spreadeagled crotch in the bullseye?

It could have been shot from a different angle so as not to give a gynocological aspect to her crotch and would probably not have been so confrontational but it would not have been so edgy if they didn't shoot right into the spread. And we all know Target is all about edgy these days....

This seems just a disgustingly juvenile trick to see if they can get away with being provocative and cloaking it in such a way so as to have a lame excuse like "snow angels" when anyone objects. Reminds me of some trick a naughty middle school boy would be trying - "hey, I'll make a prominent art project poster that has 'secret and naughty' meanings and if anyone catches on, I'll just say the subject is doing something totally non-naughty and they'll never catch that I'm a teen horn dog! bwwaaa haaaa haaaa!!!".

I'd be willing to bet the AD, CD and photographer were all 20 something horn dogs of the male persuasion - OK, maybe 30 something or 40 something (sadly many men never grow up past being naughty school boys it seems).... Actually, it would be very interesting to find out who the agency, AD, CD and photographer were and if this was a design concept fueled by overwrought testosterone with no estrogen for balance.

Posted by: Leena on January 17, 2008 12:14 AM

"our young men and women are dying in an unjust war in Iraq and people have nothing better to do with their time than try to find something sexual in an innocent target add."

I think you're really missing the big picture of why this kind of thing is so offensive. Yes, there are much bigger things to worry about going on all over the world, but do you really think that this has no connection to it whatsoever? Equal Rights for all citizens are a huge concern, in fact, the very core concern of why I myself do charitable works and do my part to facilitate the kind of world peace that is a big issue on everyone's mind. And these civil rights include everyone being treated fairly and with respect. When you present a woman as an object, her sexuality as the bullseye on a target, you are doing your part to undermine in whatever small way what we should all be striving towards. My point being that in addressing this seemingly small and insignificant issue we are getting at the roots of the bigger ones that plague our society. You tear down a wall by removing one brick at a time. Also, I'm from South Carolina, and we definitely do not see snow often enough for me to have thought "snow angel" when I saw this.

Posted by: Heather on January 17, 2008 7:33 AM

This complaint is HUGELY silly. Oddly, mostly women, not men, are reading something sexual into this photo. This shows how neurotic people, and unfortunately, mostly women in the U.S., have become about sexual images and sexuality in general. In most cultures, sexuality is still a normal thing. This photo isn't racy, perverse, objectifying, or anything else of the nature. There are much more suggestive images posted on billboards all over the world and nobody bats an eye at them. I disagree that nude or lewd images should be exposed to casual passersby in public environments anywhere. But if this photo is objectifying, then thank God in some places women still appreciate being "objectified." It shows they have not lost their sense of what is normal, acceptable, and plainly innocent display of the human body.

Posted by: ttj on January 17, 2008 2:41 PM

Only if we directed this much energy and concern toward our failing, corrupt, dictatorship of a government… This would be a much better world. While our government is making fake videos to try and get us to start World War III with Iran, Russia, and China we are worrying about a woman in winter clothing laying on a corporate symbol in the position of making a snowman. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by: Sno Man on January 17, 2008 3:45 PM

Sex is such an awful thing.... Now where did my killing gun go?

Posted by: Army on January 17, 2008 3:47 PM

If her "upper body" were centered on the target then there would be a complaint that her breasts were the "target" at the bullseye. Why are her BREASTS any better than her VAGINA?

With the circles, it's a reference to the Vitruvian Man -- Da Vinci's drawing of a man in a circle. If she's off-center the reference loses force.

Posted by: Oh, her breats are better? on January 18, 2008 4:42 PM

This is so absurd! Only in this hyper-sensitive, PC world we live in would some uptight, sexually frustrated housewife even consider that it is anything but what the Target ad people meant for it to be! Everyone is forgetting that it is part of a whole suite of images depicting outdoor winter fun - on the logo instead of snow or ice. The only thing that is harmful is the ever-constant bulldogging by self-proclaimed media police.
For others that admit to "seeing" something provocative too - your imagination is not Target's responsibility. Though, I'm guessing that most never saw anything until it was pointed out.
I am female, and not one bit offended.
To Target - blow it off - your marketing is aces above the rest!
T

Posted by: T on January 19, 2008 9:15 PM

"Fully half of the US population lives where snow angels are NOT common, snow doesn't fall or at least not enough that people would ever normally be thinking about snow angels."

FYI:
Target Corp is located in Minnesota - where there are long winters and lots of snow. So, the perspective is all relative.

Posted by: T on January 19, 2008 9:26 PM

The missing piece in this banter is that the entire point of trying to call Target in the first place was to discern whether there was:

a.) an explanation within a larger campaign context or
b.) a bad judgment call that needs brought to their attention
c.) some art director(s) laughing over a latte that they pulled a fast one
d.) a clueless client that needs a wake-up call OR
e.) an edgier, push-the-envelope client that wanted to strive for wink & nod innuendo to slip past corporate and appeal to coolness target market

When the attempt to fact check/determine the context was rebuffed in an e-form write-off as non-traditional media, THAT lit the match in the blogosphere.

When Mn.-based PEM picked up the story, CBS called HER in to interview, and ever since, it has been misconstrued in a one-ad-only context which does ALL the orgs a disservice.

Yes, I was glad PEM brought it to HQ attention for a solid wrist slap on their poor judgment, corp. policy, and abysmal customer care, but frankly, (I think I can speak for Target here too) we are ALL weary of the conversation being distorted, diluted, and pulled out of context on ALL sides, devolving into a thumbs up or down UGC opinion poll vs. larger framing of a massive objectification issue.

So fergawdsakes...as the Beatles would say, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Posted by: ShapingYouth on January 19, 2008 10:29 PM

Americans are sex obsessed. They see sex behind every bush.

Posted by: David on January 20, 2008 11:32 PM

She's simply spread out on the target logo. Her arms and legs are spread. The logo is a perfect circle. In order for her to be centered in the circle, that part of the anatomy needs to be in the center. It would look odd if she we hanging off to one side, or if she had her legs closed. You guys are really stretching here.

Posted by: Adam on January 22, 2008 12:06 PM

if you are offended by this you should kill yourself. please do not reproduce so you don't fill the world with more idiots. you are probably the same people that hate puppies.

Posted by: tony on January 22, 2008 4:40 PM

If you would bother to look closer, you would notice that her body IS off center, and the target is centered on her left hip bone, not her vagina.

This website is the reason this ad is now sexualized, not Target.

Posted by: Joe on January 23, 2008 2:52 PM

"FYI:
Target Corp is located in Minnesota - where there are long winters and lots of snow. So, the perspective is all relative."

So, they're very cleverly marketing to.....themselves!!

Please, it's not so hard to spot that, as has been said, *someone* in the ad agency wouldn't have thought of it.

Posted by: Dana on January 23, 2008 5:04 PM

A few thoughts -
It might have been a little easier to dismiss Steve's comments if there were actual (or even synthetic) snow in the "snow angel" image.

Second, it's incredibly laughable that the agency creatives wouldn't have considered another level of "meaning".

Stop being so defensive folks.


Posted by: Mark on January 28, 2008 1:17 AM

Funny, I just think of carnies throwing knives in a White Stripes video.


...But maybe I've got problems. : )

Posted by: Jenny on February 4, 2008 7:59 PM

Agree with ontarioemperor comment in flickr. Way to go, Target. Now the feminists AND the bloggers are out to get you.

I'm sure you guys would've cum up with a similar critique had the woman been placed anywhere else on the target

Posted by: Busby SEO Test on December 28, 2008 12:50 AM

So my husbands first words were vagina and I would hit her target. He is not in advertising but a typical consumer that will now ask me if he can hit my target when we enter a target store for the next month or so.

Posted by: Vanguard on February 4, 2009 10:29 AM

what is this?

Posted by: Rusli Zainal Sang Visioner on June 21, 2009 10:45 PM

that is unfair. why should be a woman's body.

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