Whoops! Target Inadvertently Offers ‘Manatee’ Dresses For Plus-Size Women
In the Twitter era, marketers have to be extra careful that what they put on their websites isn’t offensive, even intentionally. Extra, extra careful.
Witness what happened yesterday when self-described “Digital Maven” Susan Clemens was shopping on Target.com and noticed an odd discrepancy: The same style of dress in the exact same color was labeled differently depending on the size. The name of the color on the plus-size version was suggestive, and not in a flattering way.
Clemens tweeted her discovery, quickly garnering dozens of retweets:
Someone’s idea of a mean joke? Absolutely not, says Target spokesman Joshua Thomas.
He points out that “Manatee Gray” is a color found on many products across a range of categories on the Target website, some of them in women’s regular and even petite sizes.
In this case, he says, there were two different teams of buyers responsible for the “missy” and plus-size product lines, and the teams didn’t coordinate when they inputted the product information for the site. One team apparently used the color’s official name, while the other eyeballed it.
“We apologize for any discomfort this might have caused and are working to update the name of the dress to reflect Dark Heather Gray,” he said. “This was an unfortunate oversight and we’ll take it into consideration moving forward.”
Lesson learned, boycott averted.