Target’s Photoshop Faux Pa
Written By: Sarah Roberts
Target, America’s second largest discount retailer since 1962, received negative social and news media attention this month for a poorly-photoshopped advertisement on its junior swimwear section. It is well known that Photoshop is a commonly used tool in the fashion industry, but unfortunately, it often leads to a negative portrayal of body image—especially in young girls and women. This is why Target’s Facebook page was highly criticized by its fans for this mistake, and the company has so far only apologized briefly on BuzzFeed.com and on ABC News.
Here at Parallel 6, we believe in interacting with our clients’ audiences. When Target was called out on its error on March 10 and 11 by several blogs and social media users, its team proceeded to post about its other projects and activities while avoiding comments from followers on its Facebook page. In a perfect world, taking the page down and apologizing to a couple reporters would’ve been enough, but since it’s already out there (and has been duplicated and critiqued on so many blogs), it should be acknowledged in an operative way.
So how can Target handle this public relations disaster? The company has two choices, proactively take care of its own reputation in a crisis, or to let its angry audience take the reins by posting negative comments on its social accounts. As a social media and digital marketing firm, we’d suggest that Target chooses the former. So far, Target’s social team has kept quiet about the whole thing, but since it has such a strong following on Twitter and Facebook (about 24.6 million followers combined), we’d like to help the company maintain its strong reputation.
From a community management point-of-view, we recommend Target come forward through its multiple media outlets so that all of its audiences know the company cares about the issue. As a company, Target has a very developed press page on its website, so implementing an official statement in the form of a press release, Facebook post and Tweet would be a smart move. At this point, our advice is to be as transparent as possible. Encouraging truthfulness and positive body image moving forward can prevent the company from losing current and potential customers. Like the classic rule of thumb says, “honesty is the best policy.”
How would you handle this PR crisis if you were on Target’s social team?