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Going a bit too far

January 21, 2008

by Kristen Miller

I understand why Parents for Ethical Marketing (PEM) exists – “. . . [to] encourage corporations to adopt responsible marketing standards and practices that sustain the health of children and families.”

This is a great model. It’s important to lobby for tasteful marketing and advertising. PEM considers themselves “corporate babysitters.”

Now, they are babysitting the Target Corporation and a New York Times Billboard that the PEM founder, and mother of two, is “very offended by.”

The winter ad is of a young lady dressed in full snow gear from head to toe (hat, gloves, scarf, and snow boots) making a snow angel on the Target bullseye.

This ad is apparently sexually suggestive. Ray thinks there should be snow underneath for people to understand it’s a depiction of a person making a snow angel.

It’s called abstract. I knew exactly what she was doing. If there were snow underneath her, a person wouldn’t be able to see the Target logo, which was the intended purpose of the advertisement in question.

WCCO reporter Jason DeRusha took to the streets to see if other people, both men and women, were offended by this particular ad.

As recorded, no one was offended, they simply said it looked like she was having fun, playing in the make-believe snow, making a make-believe snow angel.

I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising this woman would jump to this conclusion since her job is to look for offensive marketing.

Sometimes, when you look for something, your mind will create it. If one really wanted to, they could find something sexual in just about every ad.

I think that’s exactly what happened here. I like Target Corporation’s ads. They are one of the most clever marketing groups out there. I don’t think it was anyone’s intention when creating this line of ads to be sexually suggestive.

Yes, there is a line of ads that go along with this snow angel theme which includes a man wearing a similar outfit figure skating on the Target bullseye.

I’m wondering, would this ad be any more offensive if it were a man making a snow angel? Probably not.

I checked out the PEM web site and this group is also against “gendered T-shirts.”

Are you kidding me? They find it offensive to have gender specific T-shirts for girls and boys – T-shirts with Disney princesses for girls and Disney’s Cars for boys. Now, that is going a bit too far. What is this world coming to?

When DeRusha asked Ray if she was overreacting about the Target ad, she said, “Absolutely not.”

Ray may be a corporate babysitter, but I think she has too much time on her hands and is going a bit too far by suggesting this specific Target ad is sexually explicit.