By Chris Hoenig
Target is firing back at anti-LGBT groups who targeted the retailer’s support of same-gender marriage, and it is doing so in the most awesome of ways.
Target, No. 22 in the 2014 DiversityInc Top 50 and No. 8 in the DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees, was one of four Top 50 companies to sign an amicus brief last month supporting the legal efforts to overturn same-gender-marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. Cummins (No. 15), Marriott International (No. 16) and WellPoint (No. 29) were the other Top 50 companies to sign on.
It didn’t take long at all for anti-gay hate groups to launch an offensive against the retailer.
“I hope people will go into Target stores across the country and tell them that they are no longer going to buy products there because Target has joined the attack on the institution of natural marriage,” Liberty Counsel Action Vice President Matt Barber said. “They need to let it be known that they will take their business elsewhere and tell why they are doing so. That’s what individuals can do about this.”
The National Organization for Marriagewhich said the brief contained charged language because it said “the states’ bans [on same-gender marriage]” and believes that the phrase “marriage discrimination” is “radical”also called for a boycott.
First, customers have already responded to the hate groupsTarget’s stock price is up nearly 10 percent since it signed on to the brief.
Now, Target has responded, too. The company released an ad this week called “Made to Matter,” featuring several families, including a gay couple with their child.
The commercial, which focuses on the natural quality and organic, sustainable nature of Target’s products, also contains lines that seem to also hit back at the hate being spewed by the anti-LGBT groups.
“What if we thought as much about what goes into something as what comes out of it” it asks at the beginning. “What if more things were made for good”
Target is not the first retailer to use commercials as a response to criticism of its support of the LGBT community or use of diverse or LGBT couples in ads.
Anti-gay hate groups attacked Nabisco after it included a gay couple and an interracial family in its “This Is Wholesome” TV ad for its Honey Maid product line earlier this year. In response, the company, a subsidiary of Mondelz International, put out another commercial, “This Is Love,” which took all the negative comments it received about the “This Is Wholesome” commercial and turned them into an artistic portrayal of the word “love.”
Racist rants followed a Cheerios commercial late last year that featured an interracial couple and their child. Cereal maker General Mills (No. 20 in the DiversityInc Top 50) responded by bringing the family backand having them announce another childin another commercial during the most prime of prime times: during the Super Bowl.
The moves by Target and these other companies come as support of the LGBT community and same-gender marriage continues to grow. A Washington PostABC News poll from March found that nearly 60 percent of Americans support same-gender marriage, including a majority of the population in every region of the country, including the traditionally conservative Deep South.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have already legalized same-gender marriage, and bans across the country are being overturned by federal courts.