The @Target Bullseye Bodega: A National Campaign That Perplexes Some Latino Consumers

For those who say that people are just hypersensitive and uppity and just love to trash and complain, you miss the original point as to why we published the "Why @Target Needs to Stop Latino Ethnic Marketing: The “BODEGA” Fail" post in the first place. The point that was made was a very simple one: marketing communication is personal, no matter how much you try to standardize it. One consumer may see nothing at fault with the message, while another consumer might see pride in the message, and a third consumer might be perplexed and confused (and yes, a bit miffed). In the end, this is a free country and yes, Target is not the only big box store that sells stuff. We know that this isn't the Soviet Union. We get it.

Nonetheless, for some the Target Bullseye Bodega is weird. And it gets even weirder when you actually see the point behind why Target decided to roll out this new concept to all its stores. As the official Target blog states:

What is Bullseye Bodega?

BL: Bodegas are basically convenience stores, which is what Bullseye Bodega is all about.  After the holidays, you can browse the curated – and vast – selection of Target goods in a “boutique” within the store. Best of all? Bullseye Bodega offers tons of deals and coupons, so you won’t suffer from post-holiday spending sticker shock.

Ok, that is the official marketing answer from Target. Let's break it down. If that is the logic (and so you all know, we are also a digital agency with actual clients and we have a deep geeky interest in marketing and advertising in the social media age), then we ask these questions:

  • Why use a Spanish word that means "warehouse" to those of Mexican descent, "wine cellars" to those of Spanish descent and other South American countries, and "so much more than a convenience store" to those from the Caribbean, Latinos from the Northeast and other markets like Miami, Tampa, or Orlando? What is the purpose for using a Spanish word that has so many cultural meanings and nuances? Is it to associate diversity? Is it to communicate a lack of understanding of the complex Latino consumer market?
  • As a follow up, why use a Spanish word and associate it with discount and cheaper-priced products?
  • And what about those who don't see anything wrong or have no clue that this word means or its different regional connotations? What is the purpose?

Even if Target used "boutique," wouldn't that be clear enough to many? That term is a fairly common one in retail, why then choose "bodega?"

These are just questions and the discussion (once we got past some people calling us uneducated idiots in both languages that are just overthinking everything) on the previous post has been good. This is a good little study about the language of selling and marketing. And we found out that our first post was an actual study topic for a marketing class in a Florida college, and that the students told us that it was a very cool discussion.

Does it merit a boycott of Target? Of course not. Can we at least question it and wonder what the reason behind this campaign was and why did no one at Target or the agency that developed the concept raised the issue? We think so.

Target will always be Target and it won't go away, but it is still fascinating to see how out of touch big brands can be some times with concepts as they try to get more diverse with their consumers. We applaud Target's intent, but not its execution.

That is all.

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