Target’s ‘trampy’ togs slammed by Facebook community

Retail giant Target is the latest in a recent spate of social media driven consumer backlashes, with a recent post by an annoyed consumer picking up 53,666 likes on Facebook and almost 3000 comments at time of writing.

The comment, by a person named Ana Laura Amini, reads:

”Dear Target, Could you possibly make a range of clothing for girls 7-14 years that doesn’t make them look like tramps … You have lost me as a customer when buying apparel for my daughter as I don’t want her thinking shorts up her backside are the norm or fashionable.”

The comment was left at 7pm on Friday evening. Target did not issue an official response until Monday morning. 

The post on the brand’s page states:

“We’d like to apologise for the delay in responding to your feedback. A word in the original post was flagged by Facebook as inappropriate and therefore was hidden from our view until it was brought to our attention today. Thanks for your patience and your valuable contribution.”

Target Facebook

The social network Facebook is notorious for changing the appearance and functionality of the site without prior warning.

Target fan comment

Along with allowing users to pay to promote particular posts – a service which is usually free for the first post  -Facebook has recently made changes to the way posts are shown in News Feed, which is thought by expert to be designed to increase interaction with brands. This means that posts by a user’s friends show up whether or not users like the page their friends are commenting upon.

The controversy comes shortly after a new ruling by the Advertising Standards Bureau found brands are responsible for comments made by fans on their Facebook brand pages.


  1. Anthony
    14 Aug 12
    12:19 pm

  2. What exactly is the controversy, that they took 72 hours to respond?

  3. Dorothy
    14 Aug 12
    12:45 pm

  4. I really dislike the way Facebook have changed the algorithm here, causing things that shouldn’t go viral, to go viral. It’s creating an angry mob mentality, and then news sites blow it way out of proportion. The fact is, most brands don’t have 24/7 community management, and they shouldn’t need to either, but Facebook changing them game on us again means everyone needs to add more resources to stop this from happening. Very tiring.

  5. defender of troglodytes
    14 Aug 12
    1:12 pm

  6. Is this story about Target retailing inappropriate clothing that sexualizes children or Facebook’s new strategy to bring in the advertising $?

  7. Ronnie B
    14 Aug 12
    1:16 pm

  8. Facebook are eyeing the shark ; working out how big a ladder they need ; and are off to Bunnings as we speak to buy it.

  9. meh
    14 Aug 12
    1:20 pm

  10. I visited Port Macquarie in May (it was not warm), based on the amount of juvenile arse cheek on show (a LOT) my guess is that it isn’t just Target selling said trampy clothes. Perhaps this would be a more fair attack if they were somehow different to other retailers. Children wear, and retailers sell clothing that parent’s buy and allow their kids to wear right? Doesn’t the phrase “you’re not leaving the house in that, young lady” exist anymore?
    Mum’s get a life get of FB and raise your kids.

  11. Dec
    14 Aug 12
    1:27 pm

  12. Oh dear what a storm in a tea cup.

    SMH headline all day “Ultimatum to stores: sign pledge not to sell ‘trampy’ kids clothes or be boycotted”.

    Right so I’m clear lots of people clicked a like button because it appeared in the news feeds. They didn’t meet, they didn’t discuss, they just clicked a button. Well maybe some more actually bothered commenting.

    Oh wow look out it’s civilian unrest!!! Agghhh what are we to do, everyone freak out!

    Hey Target just use the Chewbacca defence. Or wait till tomorrow when another comment goes viral, like the one about the real estate agent and betting his mate $1 for each like he gets.

  13. Seriously?
    14 Aug 12
    1:29 pm

  14. So all businesses are now expected to be 24hr-a-day response machines are they? A customer made a complaint Friday night, then got a response the following business day, what’s wrong with that? I’d say that’s actually pretty good service and the response was good – Target should be commended. Facebook may be fast becoming an immediate complaint facilitator, but it doesn’t mean businesses should be expected to respond 24/7.

    Whether or not the clothes are ‘trampy’ depends on your definition of trampy I suppose. If you don’t want your kids to have those clothes, don’t buy them.

  15. Dale
    14 Aug 12
    1:30 pm

  16. Out of hours responding and monitoring of social media is essential. Social media doesn’t switch off – either should brands and orgs. Would they ignore a massive media fail? Of course not. If you think social media is 9-5 M-F you’re in the wrong job.

  17. 9-5 'friends'
    14 Aug 12
    1:37 pm

  18. Maybe brands shouldn’t participate in a 24/7 social media environment if they can’t manage their comms 24/7.

  19. Christabelle
    14 Aug 12
    1:53 pm

  20. I don’t think it’s Target’s fault as it was posted at 7pm on a Friday night. Maybe what they could learn from it is they need to set expectations by saying on their Facebook page what times they will be monitoring the stream, and when people can expect to be answered (within 72hours if posted after 5pm on Friday)?

  21. H@z3l
    14 Aug 12
    2:09 pm

  22. Power to the people I say! I love the danger that facebook can create for companies with the threat of complaints going viral.

    isn’t that what we as consumers (and market research teams) have vied for – to hear the voice of the consumer relating to products and brand image?? Straight from the horses mouth!

  23. Paul the freelance writer
    14 Aug 12
    2:20 pm

  24. And while you’re doing your research, go and look at your parents’ photos as children in the 1970s. Tiny stretch terry-towelling shorts, anyone? Fashions come and go.

    Target and other retailers will respond in a timely manner to sales trends, not some social media mood-swing. 53,666 likes? If reading the post and responding took each respondent a minute, that’s what, a total of 35 days of lost time?

    No-one engages in social media at work, of course, so that’s completely fine.

  25. Jeepers
    14 Aug 12
    4:13 pm

  26. How long to some of these brands get off social media or diminish their visibility on it?

    They’ve been sold the Emperor’s new clothes but unfortunately they don’t fit them.

  27. Alice Down The Rabbit hole
    14 Aug 12
    4:52 pm

  28. Does Vodaphone have a page? I could leave them a message or two :-)

  29. AdGrunt
    14 Aug 12
    4:58 pm

  30. So once again, someone chooses to impose their subjective views on “sexuality” and “trampy” clothes on everyone else.

    Ana darling, if you don’t want to buy those clothes for your daughter, then don’t. I personally think they’re ghastly, but don’t suggest the moral fabric of Australia will disintegrate because your hang-ups tell you certain clothes are “trampy”

  31. Matthew Talbot
    14 Aug 12
    6:18 pm

  32. I see a lot of tramps and not one of them looks like they were dressed in the Target kids section.

  33. Ok Then
    14 Aug 12
    9:14 pm

  34. Another good thing is brands are starting to realise people actually hate them. After working for a telco, it was hilarious how much the marketing team believed that people loved their brand and thought about it with more passion than they did.

  35. Dorothy
    15 Aug 12
    12:39 am

  36. H@z3l – I would hardly call this people power. People clicking like on an angry rant on Facebook is not hearing from the consumers mouth. It’s hearing from A consumers mouth, and everyone who clicked like has barely grunted in their direction. If you’re basing your market research on the number of likes an angry rant on Facebook gets, you should probably review your methodology.

  37. bubble wrap
    15 Aug 12
    9:17 am

  38. The parents are actually in charge of purchasing the clothes for their children, right? Just don’t buy anything you aren’t comfortable with them wearing.

    Why is it these days that instead of being good parents, people feel the need to complain about the world around them.

    It is not your job to child proof the world, it is your job to world proof your child.

    Learn how to be parents, instead of how to complain via social media.

  39. People Power
    15 Aug 12
    9:48 am

  40. The reason this post received so many likes and comments is because it is wrong for young girls to be dressed like hookers.

    Some parents would never let their children dress like hookers. Sadly, as we can see with the many obese little kiddies waddling around these days, some parents couldn’t care less…

    Target are being brought to account on social media because they sell girls clothes that wouldn’t look out of place on an old brass door. Target have a moral obligation to have a positive impact on society. Evidently many folk on Facebook agree?

    Like it or not, if companies are not being ethical, they might well find that this is the norm. Target’s response is fine. To cure an ongoing torrent of abuse from the people though: stop selling clothes that make young girls look like hookers – simples.

  41. Graham Lang
    15 Aug 12
    10:12 am

  42. This is the same comment I made re Coles last week
    This is a classic mistake that a lot of companies are making . They fail to respect the fact that it’s the “real time web” and it needs responding to in “real time”. They should have responded sooner…period! They paid the ultimate ROI …return on ignoring.
    Companies from the CEO’s down need to embrace this space ASAP and understand that the world has changed the way it communicates and with this change has allowed brands to become “outstanding” in the way they communicate with their customers.
    Memo: Coles, Qantas, Ford Australia, Taronga Zoo and anyone who will listen…
    brands don’t sleep cc Target

  43. AlexH
    15 Aug 12
    10:35 am

  44. I agree with those that can’t see what all the fuss is about. The brand responded appropriately once they were made aware of the comment. End of story – big deal. The choice of clothing available is a separate issue for Target to deal with and keep all their customers satisfied.

  45. Daniel-Jacob Santhou
    15 Aug 12
    10:44 am

  46. Parents sometimes forget the trends back in their days when they were teenagers. It’s about rebellion and ‘fitting in’. Fashion is subjective. One person perceives things differently from another. However, when there is a collection of perceived value, they form a community.

    Parents who rebuke this notion and idea should perhaps keep up to date with what their children consume (music, movies, tv shows, influences etc).

    Target has obviously done its research. They have justified their findings. I think parents in this case need to step up their game.

    Even though brands want to be on social media, it risks alot of negative comments and feedback which remain public and easily accessibly to it’s followers.



  47. BJD
    15 Aug 12
    10:56 am

  48. I agree with bubble wrap.

    We need to prepare our children for what they will face in the world, not try and change the world for them. As many people have already commented, if you don’t like the clothes, don’t buy them for the kids – simple!! Why do parents make it everyone else’s problem if they don’t like something! Sigh!!

  49. BRMM
    28 Aug 12
    4:51 pm

  50. As both a professional comms person and a mother of young girls, the reason it resonated with me was that it IS hard to find age-appropriate clothes.

    I wasn’t one of the 53,000 odd likers, and even responded to Target’s invitation to email them directly with feedback. No response – not even an automated one.