Interesting PR misstep this week from Target, a brand that usually gets it right. In the aftermath of the flap over its Times Square billboard, the Big Red Bull's Eye revealed its bizarre stance toward new media in a response to questions from the blog Shaping Youth:
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.Erik Deckers summed up the stupidity of this position very nicely in his comment on Rare Bird:
Once again thank you for your interest, and have a nice day.
Wait, is this the same Target that has a website at Target.com? The same Target that sells more stuff online than they have in stock in their stores?Here's the thing that has turned this story into a scream instead of a whisper: after the initial Shaping Youth post criticizing the billboard, the response from the blogosphere included some pretty vigorous comments in defense of Target. But after Target slapped the blogosphere, the blogosphere began slapping back.
After this week, I wonder if Target still thinks that it "doesn't participate with non-traditional media outlets." The truth is that your company will participate in "non-traditional media" one way or another, either actively or passively. Make no mistake about it: you can't control the message anymore, and you only have a limited say in how your story gets told. But that's still much better than letting everyone else tell your story for you while you ignore them, making believe they don't exist.
Hats tipped to Rare Bird, PR Squared