Another week, another woke marketing campaign causing an uproar across the nation. For the last decade, Target, along with many other companies, has released products during the month of June to commemorate pride month and the LGBTQ+ community. Yet, this year, Target’s pride month collection has managed to ignite a fresh wave of controversy.
Target’s Pride collection includes an array of books, cards, t-shirts, and other merchandise, catering to both adults and children alike. However, it was the introduction of a swimsuit specifically designed as “tuck friendly” that proved to be the epicenter of this uproar. This particular garment is made for transgender women to conceal private areas if they have not undergone gender-reassignment surgery. Videos showcasing the pride display, prominently positioned upon entering Target’s stores, quickly spread like wildfire across social media platforms, subsequently resulting in an immediate and resolute boycott.
As public scrutiny intensified, delving deeper into the identity of those responsible for designing these controversial garments, public outrage grew exponentially. It was discovered that the collection was linked to Erik Carnell, a designer associated with the enigmatic brand Abprallen. Carnell’s outspoken Satanist beliefs, coupled with his brand’s use of occult imagery and provocative messages such as “Satan respects pronouns” emblazoned upon their apparel, only served to further fuel the already raging flames of discontent.
The repercussions were not merely confined to public sentiment; they manifested palpably in the fiscal realm. The data revealed a staggering loss of $9.3 billion in market value within a single week following the eruption of this fervor. The ensuing six-day stretch witnessed a relentless decline in shares, the most protracted downward trajectory since December 2022 and the bleakest such period since the six days culminating on May 25, 2022, during which shares plummeted by an astonishing 27.34%.
In a bid to address the mounting controversy, The New York Post cited an inside source from Target, highlighting the urgency with which “emergency” meetings were convened on May 19th. These discussions sought to address the collective outrage emanating predominantly from right-wing customers, prompting the company to undertake tangible measures. Consequently, Target confirmed on May 22nd that modifications would be made to its LGBTQ+ merchandise, entailing the removal of certain items from the collection in advance of Pride month.
This latest episode of “Go Woke & Go Broke” only serves to underscore the question: Why do companies persist in embracing such advertising when it carries tangible fiscal consequences? Have they not learned from the well-documented missteps of Bud Light and others who have trodden similar paths?