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Go Woke, Go Broke: Target Restrategizes 2024 Pride Merch

This year’s Pride Month at Target is unfolding with unexpected restraint. After a challenging year in the stock market, Target, a company that once prided itself on its transgender product line for children, declaring it “great for our brand,” has made a dramatic pivot. This shift is the latest testament to the growing power of consumer activism, vividly illustrating the adage “go woke, go broke.”

Target CEO Brian Cornell, who once showcased chest binders and tucking swimsuits for children as markers of “progress,” faced the music by late last summer. Following a particularly dismal financial performance in August, he stopped short of apologizing but acknowledged the need for reflection. As Target’s earnings plummeted, Cornell signaled impending changes.

What Cornell learned is that catering to woke activism is a direct path to financial disaster. His initial defiance during the holiday shopping season, which filled shelves with overt LGBTQ promotions, finally met with the hefty price of consumer discontent. This response mirrored the backlash faced by other corporate giants like Anheuser-Busch, Nike, and Disney, all of whom watched their customers flee in search of less politicized shopping environments.

In the face of mounting public pressure, Target has wisely decided to curb its Pride products. This year, the retailer has confined its LGBTQ merchandise primarily to adult consumers—a prudent step detailed on its website. It’s quite telling that it required a nationwide backlash against such controversial items as chest binders and tucking swimsuits for children for Target to recognize the profound inappropriateness of its offerings. These items catered to a divisive, woke agenda that many Americans found deeply troubling. This adjustment by Target is a clear concession to the values of the broader consumer base, signaling a potential shift away from the radical policies that have alienated so many of its shoppers.

Ultimately, the decision by Target to recalibrate its Pride Month strategy reflects a broader cultural pushback against the imposition of politicized agendas in consumer spaces. It’s a reminder to corporations that their primary role is to serve customers, not indoctrinate them. This saga at Target underscores a critical lesson: when consumers speak with their wallets, even the largest corporations must listen—and that’s a principle that transcends mere profit, touching the very essence of democratic capitalism.

Robert B. Chernin

Robert B. Chernin

Robert is a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser, and former radio talk show host. He studied political science at McGill University in Montreal and has spent over 25 years deeply involved in civic affairs at all levels. Robert has consulted on a variety of federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential level. He served in leadership roles in the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush as well as McCain for President. He led Florida’s Victory 2004’s national Jewish outreach operations as Executive Director. In addition, he served on the President’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition.