Target Makes Plus-Size Apology for Oversight

Target gets mixed marks for their Canadian store openings (great print/outdoor ad creative, smart media placement but poor stock levels and a poorly defended USA-Canada price gap policy) but I give them high marks for fessing up to a recent faux pas. A sizable one.

Last week a customer noticed the chain offered a dress available in ‘Dark Heather Grey‘ and a Plus-sized, same-colored version described as ‘Manatee Grey’. As in manatee- an amiable yet sizable, slow mammal also known as a ‘sea cow’. Ouch. The insensitive wording went viral- and fast!!!!

In its defense, Target uses ‘Manatee Grey’ as a colour descriptor for many items, not just garments. It’s a colour not an inference on wearer size. Different Buyers are responsible for Regular Size wear, vs Plus-size. Both independently chose a similar garment to source, yet ended up opting for different colour monikers.

Some folks might advise Target “Don’t have a cow, man” but the firm was wise to react quickly & honestly. Explain how it happened. Tweet. Get onto Social Media. Apologize. Change the name. All done, all in mere days. I bet Target is meticulously checking all lines for similar inconsistencies, and drafting & enforcing a new ‘Consistency Policy’ for all Buyers, website content editors/checkers, etc.

Target competitors who stock both Regular & Plus-sizes of garments shouldn’t laugh, since many Mass Merch retailers use a similar Dual Buyer structure, and may be at risk of such inconsistencies. Take note!

Nice going, Target.

[Now get your shelves stocked! And create a USA-Canada pricing strategy you can explain, enforce & defend!]


Steven Litt