Target: Boycott and bad press

Well, back to the Target ban on Salvation Army red kettles. (Past posts on Target and the kettles.)

Tonight, #2 on Keith Olberman’s MSNBC Countdown (transcripts) was Target and their misfortune stemming from the ban.

Four chains are capitalizing on the controversy by openly welcoming the red kettles. At least one minister is organizing a boycott.

I predict this will only get worse before the buzz dies down. How bad will the damage be? I don’t know. The one thing that is certain – it was avoidable. A proactive plan to tout their current/past philanthropic giving and/or a tangible alternative to support their ban would have saved them some, if not all, this grief.

If they have such a plan, or response, it is not getting through.

Update: the story on MSNBC, by Don Teague, does point out the following:

Target’s 1,300 stores have banned the kettles. The Salvation Army claims this will set them back $9M based upon projected income and planned services for the coming year.

Four stores have opened their doors to Salvation Army kettle’s since the controversial ban: BigLots, Kroger, Michaels and AutoZone. The story does point out that Target gives $100M annually to charities. So, some of their response is getting through.

Campbell’s Soup is also getting positive press by announcing this donation.

Commissioner W. Todd Bassett, national commander of the Salvation Army, told KYW News Radio, that after the decision by Target stores to banish the Army’s kettles, the Campbell’s Soup donation is a big help.

“There are many other places that have stepped up to the plate and said, ‘If they’re going to turn you out, we will accept you.’ And we’ve got great trust in the American public,” Bassett said.

Ouch! That hurts.

It is important (and fair) to point out Target is not alone in banning the kettles. Best Buy, Home Depot and Barnes & Noble have also closed their doors to the traditional fund-raising effort by SA.

So, why hasn’t Target been getting out this information ‘successfully’ since the controversial move was made public a few weeks ago? I do not know. Perhaps they have been trying, but have not been effective.