Michelle Sullivan Communications

Corporate screw up of the month : Target


There’s an old marketing adage that goes something like this : there no such thing as bad press, just make sure you spell my name right whatever you have to say about me.

But are you kidding me? Did T-a-r-g-e-t really want to be the TARGET of the blogosphere’s wrath when they responded to a blogger inquiry this way?

“Good Morning Amy,

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.

Once again thank you for your interest, and have a nice day.”

Dave Jones and Doug Walker use this case to launch their new Shill podcast. It has the honour of making the podcast’s ‘shit list’ (pardonnez mon français, comme diraient nos amis dans le ROC)

Doug talks about ‘oily’ stock responses of customer service reps.

Somehow I doubt the customer service rep made this up : no CSR is going to deign comment on corporate practices regarding media. Sadly, my gut tells me that the PR dept at Target is responsible for this positioning.

Either way, it’s regrettable to treat anyone with such condescension. Especially dangerous to treat someone with an audience this way. The result? Predictable. As my finger moves towards the ‘publish’ key, there are 88 comments for this posting.

Interesting tone to the Shill podcast, by the way. Short, but not sweet. Down and dirty, more like it. Pretty refreshing. May I never incur their wrath …

Quote of the day courtesy of Dave Jones, imagining the mindset of Target’s PR dept :

The Web : a fad.

And he’s right about another thing, by the way. Prepare to see this reference appear in every single talk on how-not-to-manage-blogger-relations from now on.

The Edelman / WalMart team must be kinda relieved… there’s a new kid in town to kick around.

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  1. David Jones

    2008.02.08 @ 14:50

    Michelle, thanks for the link love. Shill is just getting going, but we’re trying to be a little more real conversations to the « join the conversation » world. I’m glad you get what we’re going for. It won’t be for everyone, but that’s kinda the point.

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