Why We Should All Be Talking About Target's Latest Ad
It was the social media misstep heard around the world when Pepsi displayed what could arguably be labeled as the most tone deaf commercial of all time. The think pieces appeared to write themselves as the corporation presented Kendall Jenner as the solution to all of today's current catastrophes. It then doubled down on its insensitivity by apologizing not to its outraged stakeholders but to the problematic heroine of the offending advertisement herself. The tweets flew, the memes circulated, and the outrage resulted in Pepsi issusing a boiler plate mea culpa without batting an eyelash.
Shortly after Target served up the exact inclusivity and consideration that social media was crying out for on a silver platter by airing an ad that positively depicted people of skin colors, body shapes, and physical ability levels and a strange thing happened- nothing.
A major American retailer ran an ad featuring a black man excelling at yoga, mothers unapologetic about their (totally natural) belly bulge, a plus-size woman keeping pace in a barre class, and a disabled woman climbing a robe with a fierce disposition and enviable curl definition and yet my timeline was silent.
There were no tweets featuring links to think pieces, there were no quippy hashtags. It was as if this occurrence was completely unremarkable. It wasn’t.
Everyday we are bombarded with news of cultural appropriation and cultural insensitivity. I never have to look further than my Echofone app to hear the latest offense of YesJulz or Tory Burch but when news of those rare instances when someone gets it right are much harder to find.
Celebrating, or at the very least acknowledging, organizations that do their best to address the social issues relevant to their consumers is as much our responsibility as calling out those who don’t even though the later might be a hell of a lot more fun.
When it comes to supporting the change that we want to see the jokes might not write themselves but the potential outcome is worth the extra effort. After all when you think of all the ways we make use of 140 characters is a “way to not screw up Target” really that much of a sacrifice?
Content that doesn’t trivialize, mock, or dehumanize one or more marginalized groups of people should be the norm but sadly it isn't. And while it’s unfair that fixing systems we didn’t create routinely falls to us facts are facts. If we want to see more change, even change as small as a commercial, we’re going to have to speak up when we do.