Target: Target Corporation CEO Brian C. Cornell
Goal: Apologize for a racist ad campaign featuring the “Annie” reboot that fails to adequately represent minorities
Target recently launched an ad campaign centered around the latest reboot of the film “Annie” starring Quvenzhané Wallis in order to promote their new children’s clothing line. However, most of the models used in their advertisements were white girls. This is a problem considering the fact that it’s hard enough to find decent representation for black girls in media. This new version of “Annie” was something of a breakthrough for this underrepresented demographic, but apparently Target didn’t get the message.
Whether it’s in movies, on TV, or in advertising, you see mostly white faces in the U.S. media. Even though people of color represent a large portion of the country, you see very few of them starring in media. This is especially hard on children who grow up feeling not only out of place, but as though they’re unattractive because they lack the features typically associated with being white. This is why the new “Annie” was so important—it showed black girls that they have a place in the U.S. A Target ad campaign that featured more black faces would have helped them to feel beautiful as well.
Unfortunately, Target has refused to apologize for creating an “Annie” ad campaign that mostly features white girls. It claims to have tried to get Ms. Wallis herself for the ads, but there’s no reason they couldn’t find other black girls or girls of color to model for them. By signing this petition, you’ll demand that Target issue an apology for its failure and urge the company to commit to better diversity efforts in the future.
Dear Mr. Cornell,
Not long ago, you launched an ad campaign for your new line of children’s clothing featuring the latest reboot of the classic film “Annie.” As you may have noticed, this new version of the film has received some attention over the fact that it stars the young black actress Quvenzhané Wallis. Many black girls and women are excited about this because of the fact that they seldom get to see themselves represented in the lead roles of mainstream films.
This is why I found it troubling that most of the models you used in your Annie-themed ad campaign were white. This film was a step forward for a severely underrepresented group of people in the U.S., and instead of celebrating that, you went back to making Annie white. Furthermore, when this was pointed out to you, your company refused to issue an apology. It’s not good enough to say that your models came from many different backgrounds when not only were most of them white, but the white girls were almost always centered in the ads.
In a country that still struggles profoundly with racism, it’s very important that media aimed at children includes more people of color. Kids who don’t see themselves represented in media, or only see kids like them pushed off to the side, grow up with lower self-esteem because they get the message that they’re worth less than white people. This is why the new “Annie” is so important and why your ad campaign should have reflected the movie. I urge you to issue a real apology and commit to making ads that better represent people of color.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mike Mozar via Flickr