target gets dinged for “sexual” ad that isn’t

Target, used to getting slavered over by industry-types who admire their excellent branding and advertising, must be surprised that their Times Square billboard has been met with offended hyperventilating. Even Adfreak piles on, calling it “sexualized ad slop.”

We report, you decide:


I get it – it’s a spread-eagled woman on a bullseye. But I didn’t get it at first (which either means that I am the good Catholic boy that my parents think I am or that I really need to get laid – paging The Pretty AE) and anyway, you know that the brand team just saw it as a woman in brand-colored product up against their logo…because that is what it is. There would be no kerfuffle if there logo weren’t a target and even with the target you have to look closely at the billboard with the eye of a 14 year old boy to see what the outraged see.

Unlike this American Apparel ad that is, irrespective of the logo, actual sexualized slop:


It’s so easy to get outraged these days that people seem to get upset about the wrong thing.


6 responses to “target gets dinged for “sexual” ad that isn’t

  1. Unfortunately, folks these days look for any reason they can find to protest. I wonder if there would be so many knickers in so many twists if Target decided to put a male in the same place. Or a frolicking puppy. Or a couple with a frolicking puppy. Any and all of which have the same intended spirit.

  2. seriously? that target ad is NOT sexual at all, if you move the postion of the woman down a little bit .. you will see it is not sexualized. If it was a “sexual” image the girls facial expression would reflect that …. or if they just had a crotch shot, then i could MAYBE see it.
    I always wonder who these people are that find all this sexual content in everything? how perverted are they? THAT is the real question.

  3. Well Jane, I’ve already photoshopped her pants off, so that answers your last question. Anyhows, I think it’s placement and the fact we’re not supposed to be seeing a woman spread-eagle, let alone laying on top of a billboard. It all comes together too perfectly.

  4. Pingback: sex is everywhere but target isn’t « the daily (ad) biz

  5. Well… this is going to be long… and unedited because i dont have time for that kind of stuff… but! coming from a contemporary art history background i suppose the biggest issue with this billboard is most certainly the placemen of the model in respect to the target and the openness of her position, as well as the fact that her pants match the colour of the center of the target only further creating a focal point leading directly at her crotch.

    I personally dont think that the target image is particularly erotic, but i do see alot of reasons why this could be read less as a degrading or offensive image.

    Also not to say American Apparel’s strategy is okay or even acceptable at all… but the company is targeting a different consumer altogether (mainly the young hipster who has a strange desire for increasingly offensive or shocking images outside of the mainsteam media).

    I think that a good reason the images produced by American Apparel are so jarring is simply that we are programmed to expect model like women who have no foot in our reality used in advertising. the sexual reference in the images presented by American Apparel are usually overt in nature, but also commonly of fairly average (and often too young looking) women that are sweaty and un powdered or glossed… the raw feeling that comes out of these images this holds too much footing in reality, as opposed to the world of fantasy we have come to expect from advertising. the sexualized feeling and the un-airbrushed quality of the immages is what makes them so much more shocking than seeing a girl on a target, britney spears on a c.d. in a leather bikini.

  6. HAS ANYONE EVER HEARD OF A SNOW ANGEL!!!!! not mentioned once?

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