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April 10, 2008


Anita Neville

A classic lesson in how to turn a good news story bad!

Joan Erickson

Great story. What you are reporting is common practice from Target even with companies they do business with. I have done PR work for a brand involved in the new natural personal care product launch at Target. You would not believe the limits and embargoes we were under - for no real reason. Fellow PR professionals - who do good work were prevented from doing any PR on the launch . As a result we lost a lot of the momentum from the buzz and many of our customers still to this day do not even know our products are carried by Target.

Teresa Danzey

Wow what a great story and such an interesting idea for a cereal box! I would love to know more about it. How are consumers like me supposed to find out about this if Target won't talk about it? Thanks for the story. I didn't even know this was available in stores, I'm going to stop by my local Target today and see if they have it!


Ugh. Kaplow should know better. Even if their client is mistrustful of bloggers, it's their responsibility to convince them that ignoring them is a bad idea.

Mike Driehorst

Two points:
First: Not dealing with or ignoring any media outlet -- consumer, trade, offline, online -- is just arrogant and poor business practice. If it doesn't reach your main audience, then don't actively pursue it. But, if it calls, do respond. Any good PR is ... good PR.

Secondly, I wonder if the lack of response to you is directed by Target or Kaplow? If it's from Target, it's very short-sighted and poor business. It didn't learn its lesson.

And, if it's from Target, I hope Kaplow is doing all it can to educate Target on the value of any positive media coverage -- no matter the source. If it isn't, it's doing Target a grave disservice.

If the kibosch on your request is from Kaplow, it needs to wake up and smell the marketplace! There is so much media opportunity. No matter the circulation or readership -- if it comes to you, answer the questions!

And, if Target wants some real service for social media, contact me. Well, maybe not if it's going to be that blind!
(The last part is in jest and out of frustration of how a supposedly successful company like Target is so screwing up.)


If, for their own wrong-headed ideas, they didn’t want to provide information, it would have been smarter for them just to ignore the email! if they never got it or were just to busy to answer. If they had done that, the worst that could happen would be: "so-and-so could not be reached for comment.” (I, on the other hand, can always be reached for comment... especially the unsolicited kind.)

Yael Miller

I found this on the 'Expertise' page on the Kaplow website:

"We get directly to consumers when we blog for our clients and talk to bloggers. Our savvy discourse with these powerful new influencers inserts our clients into the most impactful conversations on the Web."

I think it would be a good idea to continue your dialogue with Kaplow to clarify the issue. It seems incongruous that they won't talk to you in light of the above claim.

No one worth anything in advertising/marketing/PR would in their right mind dismiss blogs as an irrelevant media channel. Blogs have become more powerful than traditional media. These very same mainstream publications (like Wall Street Journal) keep talking about this phenomenon.

If the NYTimes article points to Target as being closed to communicating with blogs, than it would seem Kaplow isn't to blame, but have been directed by Target to lock out blogs.

The following excerpt from the NYTimes article would seem to prove the point:
" “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."


This is a very interesting story. Of course, it is yet to be determined if this concept is truly more sustainable. And, while this packaging is a new idea for cereals, I’m not really convinced that it will work that much better than the “old bag in a box”. It will still be over-packaged and without a liner, subjected to humidity and paperboard odor.

If cereal and snack food manufacturers want to really change for the better they should consider some of the packaging designs at:

These packaging designs will give their business a noticeable advantage over the competition for the following reasons:

1) Prevents over-packaging waste
2) Prevents food waste from spillage & spoilage
3) Presents attractive & unique designs for marketing
4) Offers a more user friendly option for sales

In the interest of fairness, I obviously have to disclose that the Olin Design Group is my company. However, my intent is to show that there are other options to the standard packaging that is currently being used for cereals, snack foods and dry goods in general.

All reclosable bags now require the use of petro-chemical plastic because of the resealing feature. Once the bio-plastics are capable of such possibilities then my designs will be even more sustainable. Whether it’s my ideas or someone else’s, I truly hope that more environmentally and consumer friendly packaging is offered to everyone as soon as possible. Sustainability is not only good, it’s imperative.

In regards to the marketing by Target and Kaplow (or lack thereof), I suppose they want to wait and see how the general public responds to the idea before they promote it more.


I have a theory as to why Target might be quiet about this "new" cereal box design. I designed a cereal box two years ago with nearly identical style cues while earning my bachelors degree in Graphic Design. The design was chosen as an outstanding design solution and was on display for 6 months in the lobby of the Art Institute of Los Angeles. With hundreds, if not thousands of people passing through that lobby on a daily basis, it doesn't seem that far-fetched to assume that someone affiliated with Target caught a glimpse of my design. I, unfortunately, was poor at the time and had no way of acquiring a patent. Then this past week I was walking through a super Target, and what do I see? My design. I feel helpless and violated because my design was not legally protected, ergo, I have no rights to their profit. Of course this would not be the first time a talented design student was wronged. The Taco Bell Chihuahua froms the 1990's was stolen from two art school students...


I have found this package to be very convenient. Anyone else???


In reference to TBarrios comment. I once worked for General Mills. They had also designed a package similar to this years ago. I do not believe it made it to market or if it did make it, not for long. It is possible that someone who designed it there moved onto Target and brought it there. Then again myself as well as many others I am sure have said they thought of a widget once before. Then when that widget was in the marketplace they complained they had thought of that idea years before but never had the money to bring it to market themselves.

Just a thought from someone tired of art students thinking they are so brilliant and the only ones whom could have ever thought of something usefull to the rest of us.

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