A Target ad intended to show the inferiority of home-made Halloween costumes as compared to those sold at their stores may have backfired on the retail giant.


In the ad, an unhappy-looking child, dressed in an Ironman costume that appears to consist of a cardboard box, a battery-powered LED light and last year's pajamas, gazes sadly at his reflection in the mirror as his mother goes for the camera. "Expect more. Pay less," the ad concludes.

Although the ad has been around for a couple of weeks, it is only now starting to attract unfavorable notice.

"Target’s name is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy these days," Geekosystem sneers. "Just to make sure that everyone has beef with them, the retailer has levied a snide, mocking blow at, of all people, moms who take the time to make charming homemade costumes for their kids instead of buying a cheap licensed knock off at some big box store."

Slate is even more scathing, heading their story, "Annals of Amoral Advertising, Part One: Target Despises Homemade Halloween Costumes."

"The politics of it are crassly offensive," Slate's Tom Scocca writes. "What distinguishes this Target commercial is its degree of blind, witless belief in its own message. ... The ad only makes sense as a piece of propaganda in service of a broader mission, to teach children that they should be consuming identical mass-produced products whenever possible."

And Wired.com has also picked up on the Slate story, commenting that "Target has just ticked off the entire Maker movement in just fifteen seconds."

The Maker Movement is a do-it-yourself subculture that is tied in with everything from open source software to the Burning Man festival to pink-wigged cosplayers, and short of insulting 4chan, there may be few constituencies that a merchandiser could less afford to offend.

"Maybe they forgot that Tony Stark’s suit was homemade, too," Wired concluded.

And Geekosystem similarly noted that "among the more famous superheroes with homemade costumes is the first one of them all, and that, indeed, Ma Kent did the sewing for him."

This video was uploaded to YouTube on October 5, 2010.

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