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PR Fail: Target's Fancy Sandals Leave Hispanic Shoppers 'Pissed'
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Due respect to the Crayola company, I was never a 64-crayon-box guy. Give me the basic eight and I would color in the lines like da Vinci. I just never understood why there had to be 17 different browns in one stupid box. Evidently, I'm not alone. If you remember, last week, we discussed how retailing giant Target 'compared plus-size shoppers to the sea cow' with their fancy shmancy "manatee grey." Would you believe this cracked crew did it again?!

According to the Consumerist
, Target didn't see a hoity-toity enough color to describe its cute sandals, so it chose a 'piss-poor' example of what not to do in retail by naming said footwear "Orina." One small problem that means "urine" in Spanish. How does the same team do the same thing twice?! First they offend the bigger girls; now they make Hispanics think the closest Target can do to relate to their community is a quick interlude with Google Translate. Classy. It seems Target believed "Orina" meant "peace" in Russian. Three things there:
  • What the what? Russian? Fresh out of Latin adjectives? 
  • If these looked like Birkenstocks, I may excuse it, but not so much. 
  • Did I mention "What the what?"
I'm relieved (see what I did there) that Target caught this in time. Apparently, it is relabeling the shoes nationwide now that this has been discovered. Oh, the shoes have been available online — and labeled as pee-pee shoes — since February. To wit, Consumerist whistleblower — the surreptitiously named 'P' (I can't make this up) — offered this scenario from the Target where she is employed: 

This isn’t a color name, but a style name. At my Target, at least, we have been asked to remove all signs with this shoe’s name as well as cover the name on both the box and the shoe tag. Seeing as there are so many Spanish-speaking people who shop and work at Target in various areas of the country, I can’t see how this got past whatever process Target uses to ensure that inappropriate names for shoes don’t reach the shelves.

MEMO to Target: Hire someone of each national origin if you insist on kicking it fancy with your dopey colors. Create a 'Pretentious Panel' and consult them so you don't offend any more demographics out there in shopper land. Oh, and consult your PR team. I think it's going to be another busy week for them. 


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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