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Target buys “Prop 8″ keyword to advertise on Google search

by rescuetruth on August 22nd, 2010

While combing through Google’s news section for any updates on Proposition 8, I noticed something very peculiar—Target is advertising in the Google News search using “prop 8″ as a keyword.

Target capitalizes on "Prop 8" controversy by advertising on Google News

Anyone familiar with the Google advertising platform, Google AdWords, knows that specific keywords are purchased through a bidding system. Google AdWords also offers site-targeted advertising in which the advertiser pays per thousand impressions.  Links like the one purchased by Target bring in revenue with each click.  Google often helps generate keywords based on an algorithm, so there is a chance that this happened to turn up in the list; however, I would be surprised if Target was not spending mucho dinero to ensure they had very specific ads.  Additionally, Target buying this keyword is likely artificially raising the bid price for each click, which may cost Prop. 8 activists and supporters more money when paying for advertising on Google.

Target search for "8_yes"

Target's advertised "prop 8" page

I suppose this isn’t all that interesting by itself, but with the controversy surrounding Target’s recent $150,000 donation to MN Forward, it fits together like a well constructed puzzle.  MN Forward has been funding a lot of the advertising for far-right Republican candidate Tom Emmer, who opposes same-sex marriage.  According to the Minnesota Independent, Tom Emmer donated to a controversial Christian rock ministry, which “affirmed the practice of Muslim countries executing gays and lesbians.”[1]

On August 5th, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel posted a sort of pseudo-apology in the form of a press release, which did not seem to take any clear position.  It was a halfhearted attempt to keep the anti-gay discriminators, and gay activists at bay, but most see right through this.  To many, this pseudo-apology only says that they do not consider the social and communal consequences of their political donations, but only the possibility of economic policies which serve only to increase profit margins.

A responsible company certainly can make mistakes, but just as important as economic growth is civic duty, and Target did not live up to that standard.  Target didn’t have to hide behind the politics of the current job market, but instead could have given a clearer message of support to the LGBT community.


[1] Minnesota Independent.  Emmer campaign donated to controversial Christian punk-rock ministry


From → Civil Rights

  • Jacob Woods

    That is so ironically hilarious that they would go through and do it.