Target CEO Tries to Hold Bud Light's Beer as He Doubles Down on Controversial Campaign

AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File

Target is scrambling to try to deal with the uproar over its moves to promote LGBTQ clothing and products for kids, including books for children aged 2-8 titled “Bye Bye, Binary,” “Pride 1,2,3,” and “I’m Not a Girl.” The store got a lot of outrage for targeting children. Outraged shoppers also complained about swimsuits offering “tuck-friendly” and “extra crotch coverage” in the children’s section. The company claims those are adult swimsuits, not directed toward children.


As we noted, Target held an emergency meeting to try to deal with the backlash and they’re now saying they are removing items that have caused the most furor. They are likely hoping to quell any backlash before it gets to Bud Light levels.

But their CEO, Brian Cornell, is not helping matters with his remarks, which seem to be digging in on the “wokeness.” His comments sound a lot like those of Bud Light’s former Vice President of Marketing Alissa Heinerscheid who said they wanted to “diversify,” without considering who their customers were. That didn’t work out well for Bud Light or Heinerscheid’s job. The Target CEO claims that toadying to the woke is “adding value” to the company.

“I think those are just good business decisions, and it’s the right thing for society, and it’s the great thing for our brand,” Cornell said.

The executive, whose company employs more than 450,000 workers in more than 1,900 locations nationwide, said that the company’s strategy is aimed to cater to a diversifying customer base.

“The things we’ve done from a DE&I [diversity, equity, and inclusion] standpoint, it’s adding value,” Cornell said.

“It’s helping us drive sales, it’s building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests, and those are just the right things for our business today.”


Cornell even claimed, “I know that focus on diversity and inclusion and equity has fueled much of our growth over the last nine years.”

I’m guessing, though, that the backlash that they are currently feeling is not a great boon to their sales, and they’ve already seen how embracing this same problem has continued to tank Bud Light. Add promoting to children, and that underscores Target’s seeming effort to one-up Bud Light with truly bad moves. As with Bud Light, a lot of Middle America are customers at Target and those are the people infuriated, calling for a boycott right now. You can even see “#BoycottTarget” and “GoWokeGoBroke” are now trending on Twitter with over eighty thousand tweets about the situation. (Click the tweets to expand them.)

So why is this guy digging in his heels over this? What he’s saying is only going to make people want to ramp up the boycott more. The reason is the ESG score. To them, their ESG score is more important than their sales — more important even than the bottom line.


That’s why some of these companies might continue on this track, even when it doesn’t make any sense at all to their bottom line.

But now that Target has moved some of this stuff to the back of the store, that’s likely going to antagonize people on the left. So Target, just like Bud Light, is about to get squeezed from both ends with this bad move.


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