In today’s marketing trends, gender based products is just the norm in the United States. This has become a great controversy in the past few years, due to a higher level of gender equality as well as same sex marriage being legalized. Target is a large corporation that is taking a big hit for introducing the idea of removing gender-based signs in sections of their store. There have been debates, through different types of social media, over Target’s decision to discontinue gender-basing in sections such as Toys and Kids’ Bedding, where Target is simply removing the signs and gender specific color backing on the shelves, as stated in the Target Corporation website. The advertisements displayed throughout the Target stores demonstrate the acceptance of gender and sexuality, by showcasing how sexuality is being portrayed through sexual preference, gender integration, and female empowerment.
Throughout Target stores, there are a variety of advertisements that are used to show the company’s support to their customers of all different genders, ethnicities, and sexual preferences. Target has listened to what their faithful customers would like to see change throughout the store by swaying with what the majority says, even if this means losing customers. There are four main advertisements found within the Target store that provide evidence towards the company’s view and how comfortable they are with the choices they have made in making the environment a more suitable and enjoyable for their customers.
Homosexuality was controversial throughout the last decade, but it recently has become a societal normalcy; thus Target’s portrayal of this type of relationship in its advertisements helps to develop the comfortable and acceptance within the store’s environment. The idea of homosexuality has rapidly grown and advanced, despite all the drastic changes in society and the status quo. The gift registry advertisement presented in the Target store shows a couple holding hands and intimately looking into each other’s eyes. The aspect that differentiates this ad from the other ads is that it is a homosexual couple, which demonstrates how Target stores support everyone equally. Despite individuals sexual preferences the store was still willing to use this image rather than one of a heterosexual couple. The words printed on this advertisement, “Be yourself together,” show that regardless of a person’s personal preferences there is always that special person they are able to be themselves around, meaning they do not have to hide their identity. Target is a place where everyone can be who they are without feeling uncomfortable or that they are being judged, and by presenting a homosexual couple in their advertisement the store shows the acceptance of the people.
Throughout history, there has been a clear segregation between males and females on a variety of levels, recently it is seen that males and females are being equally portrayed in society. In the Makerwear advertisement, there are three images provided for the single ad. The first image is of two males striding side by side and sporting the Makerwear apparel, both are smiling and wearing similar style clothing. The second image shows a male and female sitting beside each other but looking off in opposite directions, again both models are smiling. The final image has a slightly different feel to it where there are four people gathered together to take a picture, all look comfortable around each other as if close friends, and again all models are smiling. The images displaying gender integration helps lo show the equality and acknowledging the idea of male and female alliance, because it is now a societal normalcy for both genders to be friends with each other. This advertisement also has the slogan of the company written below the brand name, the words “powered by the people” proves to the audience that the reason the models are all happy is because they were heard and had a say in the products design. By having this slogan on the advertisement, Makerwear tics into Target’s outlook because both companies are confident in their customer’s views on how society today should be adjusting to gender sensitivity and sexual orientation.
Along the same lines of gender integration, the idea of female empowerment has made a large appearance in society throughout the recent years, and Target has shaped this into the atmosphere of their store. The Always advertisement’s image is of a young girl holding what appears to be a baseball and the words “let’s make #likeagirl mean amazing things” written boldly beside her. This image shows that females are still not equal to males on all aspects because girls of all ages are still fighting for that feeling of equality in everything they do, which is shown by the expression on the girl’s face as well as her holding a baseball. Baseball is typically seen as being a sport for males because there is a female “equivalence” sport, softball. The determination in the girl’s face is shown by the stern look in her eyes and the smirk of a smile as well as the posture she is standing where it looks like she is a pitcher on the mound. The poise she has on the advertisement suggests that by using Always feminine hygiene products you will have more confidence to do what you put forth to do, even if it is more masculine. This also provides evidence towards the fact that the Target Corporation supports female empowerment.
Utilizing the same idea of a female model, the Beats advertisement is a female wearing the headphones with a big smile on her face. The expression on the female’s face suggests that Beats headphones bring the music to life, because the expression shows sheer joy and is a similar face of excitement as if she was at a concert where the band was playing. From outside observations, Beats advertisements mainly use male models for their products, as well as slogans to suggest that Beats are a more masculine device. On the other hand, the ads that have female models for this product typically do not have the slogan on them, this implies that females are also consumers for this product, but the original idea was for males. It may be argued that no words on the advertisements symbolizes females have no voice; however, this is done to show that the female has been empowered and no words need to be written. By showing this particular ad in their store, Target again is demonstrating female empowerment as well as gender equality.
Although none of the advertisements are for the Toys or Kids’ Bedding sections that are said to be leaning away from gender specifics, Target uses these ads as their means of support throughout the remainder of the store towards the controversial subjects. All the advertisements are placed strategically around the store to provide further evidence toward Targets support lo all people despite their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicities, as well as culture.
“What’s In Store: Moving Away from Gender-based Signs.” Target Corporation. Target Brands, Inc, 07 August 2015. Web. 08 September 2015.