Letters, August 23, 2010

Published on .

Target boycott unlikely to make a difference

RE: Steve Roth's "Key Issue in Gay Community's Target Boycott: Sense of Betrayal" (AdAge.com, Aug. 18)

I think this whole boycotting thing is ridiculous. It is not different from those far-right religious groups who staged a boycott of Disney parks and products because they sponsored a family day geared toward gay and lesbian parents and their children. I saw no reason to boycott Disney for offering a discount to people who wished to patronize their business. In the same way, I see nothing wrong with Target donating money to a PAC who supports pro-business candidates. What would the business advantage to Target be if they donated to candidates who support higher taxes on businesses? For Target , this was not about marriage equality and honestly, the same is true for the average American. When I am looking at candidates, I generally do not check to see if they are pro marriage equality. This is not because I am not for marriage equality. I think that any two consenting adults who wish to marry should be able to do so. I simply tend to take more interest in a candidate's stance on education spending (since I am an educator), health care (since I was without it for several years), reproductive rights (I am female) and the economy (I have several family members who are currently unemployed). I also find the idea of boycotting interesting because, as I recall from the 2008 presidential debates, neither Sen. McCain nor former Sen. (now President) Obama were for marriage equality. Did the HRC call on its members to skip voting? I think not. What they probably advised was to go with the "lesser of two evils."

In the end, regardless of the company's support or betrayal of the LGBT community, Target 's favorite color is green. They are a business, not a political or social movement. If there's a noticeable dip in revenue because of a boycott by LGBT consumers, they will stage an aggressive PR and social-media campaign to douse the flames. If there's a small downturn in revenue and then business as usual after that, you won't hear any more from them besides what CEO Gregg Steinhafel has already stated.

I see this as a no-win situation for any corporation that donates to a campaign. There will always be a group that will take offense based on a stance that a candidate has on any given topic. Should the corporation go the route that this boycott calls for by donating to a candidate with the opposite view of that issue, it defeats the purpose of making a donation in support of a candidate in the first place.

Another indirect path leads to advertising

RE: "Looking for a Job? Adland's Bigwigs Share How They Got Their Start" (AA, Aug. 9) JOSH MANDEL, GUADALAJARA, MEXICO

In 1990, I moved to San Francisco to go to law school, and after three years practicing law, by 1996 I was more than convinced that I'd chosen the wrong path. My only ray of sunshine at the time was my Sunday-league soccer team, full of Irish ex-pats and one other American, with whom I became fast friends. One day it occurred to me to ask, "Hey, you seem pretty happy in life and in your job. What do you do?"

Turns out he was a creative at a local agency, and in my discussions with him about the different roles within an agency, he mentioned his wife, who was (and is) a planner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. After meeting her, I spent the next week laboring over spec creative briefs, which she got in front of Jon Steel, who called me right away.

Turns out he'd heard a talk from a lawyer some months before, comparing the work that an attorney does to assemble and argue a case to the work a planner does to do discovery and create a strategy.

Others at GS&P weren't so keen on the idea of a lawyer in their midst, however, so it was only after an additional 12 interviews that I successfully made my case and began my career in advertising.

I'm currently marketing director for Nike Mexico.

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