Someday Target Corp. will be a case study in both public relations sections of MBA programs and in political science courses. The latter as an early incident in the post-Citizens United Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance and corporate free speech; the former as a cautionary tale in runaway PR and transparency.
As it nears the one-year mark since Target made a donation to a Minnesota conservative political action group, the retailer continues to suffer negative publicity, even when it's not at fault.
Last July, Target donated $150,000 to a US political action committee supporting a candidate with extremely anti-gay views. This resulted in a PR firestorm for Target, including a boycott. Eventually, other opportunistic political action groups like MoveOn.org smelled the blood in the water and piled on for a little free publicity of their own.
Target apologized for hurting the feelings of gay consumers (not to mention its gay employees), and promised reforms. In February of this year, the retailer announced the new reforms. Herein is Target's first problem.
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