Friday, June 20, 2008

be heard, spread the (method) word!

method lust reader Ryan made a post on one of yesterday's blogs, over my concern that Target has a tendency to clearance method products, and simply make room for more Big Brand varieties (we now have no method wet dryer sheets available at Target, while they simply replaced the shelf space with even more Downy dryer sheets; of which they already had like, a zillion.) His suggestion is:

"I think it is high time to use method lust to organise a big letter writing campaign to Target to encourage them to provide more shelf space for method products so that a wider variety of products are available for us to buy!

Hopefully if Target sees how much demand there is for method, and that Target is already the best resource to get the widest range of method products, they'll make more space and we can have even more method in our lives."

I think this is a great idea. Ryan, what options do you have in mind to accomplish this goal? Simply writing them a letter, and mailing it? Or something else? At first I'd thought about a signing petition, using the comments section, but I'm not sure how well that'd work. Target (at least as of January) doesn't appear to work so well with the world of bloggers. Check out this article from the New York Times:

"Target Tells a Blogger to Go Away
By Michael Barbaro

Target to the blogosphere: you’re irrelevant.

That was the message the cheap-chic retailer seemed to convey in an abrupt e-mail message to, a blog about the impact of marketing on children. Early this month, the blog’s founder, Amy Jussel, called Target, complaining about a new advertising campaign that depicted a woman splayed across a big target pattern — the retailer’s emblem — with the bull’s-eye at her crotch...

Target offered an e-mail response:

“Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets,” a public relations person wrote to ShapingYouth.

“This practice,” the public relations person added, “is in place to allow us to focus on publications that reach our core guest,” as Target refers to its shoppers.

Word of the exchange quickly spread and the blogosphere did not appreciate the slight. “Target doesn’t participate in new media channels?” asked the Web site for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Target “dismisses bloggers” commented the blog for Parents for Ethical Marketing. “Ahem! So bloggers don’t count!” Ms. Jussel chimed in on ShapingYouth.

Could Target, the ever-hip, contemporary retailer, really have such a low opinion of blogs, the ever-hip, contemporary media channel?

Yes, at least for now. “We do not work with bloggers currently,” said a company spokeswoman, Amy von Walter, who agreed to speak with this traditional media outlet.

“But we have made exceptions,” Ms. von Walter said. “And we are reviewing the policy and may adjust it.”

Target’s policy is to focus limited resources on the big media outlets, like television stations and newspapers, which reach large numbers of shoppers. With a small public relations team, she said “we want to make sure we are making an educated decision and we live up to any promises we make, in terms of service”...

Ms. Jussel, who described herself as a faithful Target shopper, was not impressed. “Any customer deserves a response to a concern, so I found this to be a shortsighted, ill-conceived judgment call,” she said."

So with THAT in mind, I think a letter writing campaign might be great! (I know method UK suggested it to their fans, when Tesco decided to only carry a few method items after a trial period in the store. So perhaps it'll work here, too!)

Their mailing address is:
33 South Sixth Street
P.O. Box 1392
Minneapolis, MN 55440–1392

I think emails might work as well. You can fill out their online form concerning Target store merchandise here.

What does everyone think? Good idea? Bad idea? Other ideas?


Netta said...

I think this is a great idea. I have a hard enough time finding method products at Target. It's like hit or miss with them.

Ryan said...

Hi Nathan,

I'm glad you liked my idea :) I was away for the weekend so sorry for the late reply.

There are a few options that come to mind:

1. Write a sample letter and post it on the method lust website, along with all relevant contact info for various people at Target HQ. Encourage people to take the form letter, personalize it, and e-mail, snail mail, etc. the letter to Method.

2. Use an online petition tracking site and send the results to Target.

3. Contact Method and see if they have any suggestions...

Personally I think having individuals personally write in to Method themselves, en masse, will be most effective. Perhaps we can get some other blogs to pick up the trend and that way get even more people involved.
I think we'd want the letter to come off as very positive, as opposed to a criticism of Target. We love that Target has been such a big and early supporter of Method, we'd just like to see even more and if Target knows there is big consumer demand perhaps they'll make more space for Method.


Ether said...

I called Target customer service about this before, and will continue to do so each time they pull another Method product.

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