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Target’s Terrible Ad

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This Target Department stores ad depicts 6 young adults at a concert. They are wearing red and white clothing and there is a red background with targets. On the top of the page the text reads, “A thousand hits and counting.” The young adults are holding lighters and have very blissful expressions on their faces. On the back of the page is another part of the ad, it is for a CD that is a compellation of songs made up of artists from Rolling Stone Magazine such as Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam, and Ben Harper.

What Target intends the majority of people to see is…a couple young adults having a great time at a concert because they went to target to prepare. They got their clothes, their lighters, and know they will always go to target to fulfill any of their needs. “A thousand hits and counting.” In this state of mind is showing that target always has exactly what you need; Target is the simple solution because you hit the bullseye when you go to Target. It also works as a play on words with the other side of the ad, in this context “hits” refer to the songs; Target is using the popularity of Rolling Stone and the featured artists to attract attention. The ad attracts people through the repetition of the colors red and white, which are the trademark colors of Target, and the red background with pattern of targets.

What some people don’t see is that this ad uses subtle drug references specifically designed for the target audience. The quote, “A thousand hits and counting,” uses terms universally recognized by the target market as a drug reference, but an elder may not realize its sub text. The way a person inhales marijuana smoke is by “hitting” a pipe, bong, etc. The lighters that the people are holding have targets coming out of them where the flame would be. This persuades the reader that Target is in support of the partying, marijuana smoking young adult. The lighters are used as symbols for marijuana paraphernalia, and the blissful, closed eyed faces suggest the same. The 20somethings in the ad are wearing turtle neck sweaters and other nice clothes that only wealthy people would wear: this represents the target market. The ad is made for ages 15-30 of good socioeconomic status. This ad was found in Rolling Stone magazine; generally the Rolling Stone Audience is accepting of drug use and the artists on the CD advertised on the other side of the ad are known for drug use. The lifestyles of these artists, lifestyles that include drug use, are the main point on interest to the target market. This is a terrible ad because it appears clean to the responsible population and targets kids with inappropriate context.





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