Advertising for the 21st Century Kid

From Jade Brookbank,

Target is now selling clothes to young tweens using sex appeal.  Take a look at this ad featuring a somewhat racy sleepover. Colorful T-shirts are neatly folded below but above the fun summerwear lurks an “alternative” girl in hipster glasses wearing only a pink bra and SWEATER.  Clearly she’s cold but not cold enough to wear a SHIRT.  What this ad is trying to sell, I am not sure.  But I do know that the ad’s message is, “You could have fun with your girlfriends as long as one of them is not wearing any of the T-shirts that Target is selling.”

From Jade Brookbank,

What happened to the Target ads that showed “fun” in an entirely different light?  Fun was just jumping!  Fun wasn’t taking off your shirt and objectifying yourself just so that Tommy Lee Blows would notice you!


“Sexy” used to be long sleeves and multiple shirt layers, plaid, silly hats, scrunchies.  Take away one layer of those things and you don’t have an outfit.  Plain and simple.

"Clueless" Style From

"Clarissa Explains It All" Style from

Photo from

Photo from

I realize I’m glorifying ’90s couture but those were times when you’d see ads with women in overly large suits and shoulder pads luring attractive men into their lairs despite their fully clothed bodies.  Yes, that was a time when women were fighting to be in the workforce, but why not continue that message in advertising today?

Photo from

All you 21st century ladies out there, what do YOU want to see advertised to you?  In my personal opinion, I’d rather see a cooked turkey wearing a sweater than a half-naked girl.

  • Jean DaRos Werner

    While I totally agree with you about the ridiculous Target advertising, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that the 90’s “was a time when women were fighting to BE in the workforce”. While the average salaries may not have been as high as men and most top executives were and continue to be men, there were plenty of women in the workforce in the ’90’s and i can’t imagine many of them had to “fight” to get there. Perhaps in the 1890’s…

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      I think it depends on what industry. I know in the 90s and late 80s, a lot of women struggled to be taken seriously in the workforce.

  • Bonnie Birdsell Williams

    THANK YOU. I saw that ad in a Target a while back and told my friend, “Oh, yeah, sure, that’s totally how I dressed for sleepovers with my friends.” C’mon, Target! I thought you were better than that!

  • Brittany Schernik

    If it were selling lingerie, the add would be appropriate. But for selling T-shirts? Yes, because at girl sleepovers we all walk around in our bras and underwear and have pillow fights.

  • Bethany Burlingham

    My best friend and I just saw that exact ad the other day and were like “Oh look! That’s totally how we hang out together. Open sweater, pink bra..ya know. just chillin haha” She just text me and said “Please go to hellogiggs and check out their newest blog about advertising for teens! You’ll recognize the ad right away!!!” It’s so ridiculous. Nobody hangs out like that, and I would actually think its less fun that way, if anything, it’s quite awkward.

  • Lorrie Colin Spoering

    hey, but blondie there IS checking bra girl out. progressive, right?

  • Russ Rogers

    The blonde girl is looking at the girl with glasses with an expression of, “Girlfriend, put on a T-shirt!” It’s an ad! It got you to stop and look at the clothes. The girls aren’t doing anything inappropriate or sexual. They are laughing and eating popcorn. It’s a bra. It covers the model’s nipples. It provides more coverage than many swimsuits. If the girls were in swimsuits, would you be this prudish about the photo? Is it the incongruity of the bra and sweater that you find so titillating? I don’t get it. Yes, nobody acts like that at sleepovers. But this isn’t reality, it’s modeling. It’s a fiction from start to finish, top to bottom, beginning to end.

    If I were writing a caption to that photo, it would not be, “So, are we gonna have a lesbian three-way tonight?” The photo just doesn’t SAY that! But it might be, “Which T-shirt are you going to try on next?” And maybe that’s the message Target wants to convey.

    Actually, the message is, “Stop! Look! Pretty Girls having fun! You could have fun and be pretty too! See, some of the same T-shirts are right here! All you need is the T-shirt and you will be as pretty and happy!” But that is essentially the message of most advertising.

  • Ashley Lynn Cook

    Oh my god, I totally agree! I mean, I know sex sells, but isn’t that normally for the MALE population? Do women reeeeeaaally want to see that? I think not! I think it’s so funny what advertising has become these days. My husband mentioned to me just yesterday that he’s surprised we (meaning women) are still sane and with any self-esteem left because of all the advertising jabs about having to be slim and sexy. We were watching a show on hulu and it seemed like every 1 minute advertisement was about looking sexy and being skinny or showing a perfect woman wearing just a bra and undies dancing around and showing how her bra gave her double push-up…my goodness! I just feel like the advertising message “sex sells” should be dropped to this age range, honestly it’s just a TAD inappropriate. Seriously Target, have some class!

  • Sandra Garcia

    Totally agree! I think these ads are done by men who want to see semi-naked girls (actually they would want to see fully-naked girls but they can’t say that). Otherwise, I just don’t get it… It’s the same thing with so many products! Naked girls are also common in perfume ads (e.g. Natalie Portman for Miss Dior or Kirsten Dunst for Bulgary). Why? aren’t you supposed to wear perfume when wearing clothes?!? Lately I’m just so angry at some ads!!

  • Matty Cardarople

    This writer is AWESOME – Great Article! Thank you!

  • Amber Rico

    The ad is taken from the pajama/lingerie area of the store. They aren’t t-shirts but pajama tops, and that is not a sweater it’s a mini-robe. So the advertising is sort of on par with the area they’re advertising within. When I first saw the ad, I was sorta put off by the fact that the girl is just letting her bra hang out there, but then I thought to my friends and we just ran around in front of each other in our bras so it wasn’t that far of a stretch. I’m 33 years old so I had to think WAY back to when I was a teenager. Things haven’t changed all that much with what teens like they are after all always trying to grow up too fast. Mostly it’s the parents who aren’t putting there foot down and saying no to the kids that is what is changing.

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      Maybe the setting and modeling should have just been done differently for this shoot. It’s an awkward shot that doesn’t particularly sell the item.

    • Amber Rico

      If you look behind the picture you can see the bins of panties/undergarments the ad is selling not only the pajamas, the mini robe but also the bras. I think this whole rant sounds like a witch hunt. To me they are showing a variety of items in one picture. NOT trying to sell a sexy sleep over

  • Charlotte Amelia

    maybe it’s a bikini top?

    • Alessandra Rizzotti

      That’s awesome.

  • Meryl Rizzotti

    How true. I would never let my daughter dress like that when she was a “tween”. The Target ads you did were a lot more wholesome.

  • Annie Lynge

    I LOVE Target. At the Targets we have here, I don’t see stuff like that. In fact, we don’t even HAVE a “tween” or “junior’s” department at the Targets in Tucson (do they have those now???) But it is still weird that they’re putting up ads like that. I agree with you on Clarissa’s style. She’s the coolest.

    • Amber Rico

      It’s not a junior department it’s the pajama/lingerie department.

  • Amber Rico

    I’m so angry at this article! the ad is not for the junior department. it’s not even for the regular clothing department but for the combined pajama/lingerie department. where you know they would advertise things like BRAS! Yeah in real life the girl would probably have the mini robe tied, but they are trying to sell there bras as well. UGH comparing ads for junior and kids department vs. women’s pajamas/lingerie is just bogus!

  • Leisa Ilander

    blast from the past! That second-last pic is from the girl-band “girlfriend”. I <3'd them so hard!

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