Thursday, August 25, 2005

Buy Blue, Boycott Target

A boycott of the Target chain stores is underway in California because the company is contributing large amounts of money to Schwarzenegger who favors legislation friendly to pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the elderly :

A California consumer group is telling seniors not to shop at Target stores because of the more than $300,000 the retailer has given to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California Consumers United has spent $50,000 for a Bay Area radio campaign aimed at hitting one of the governor's supporters in the wallet.

The campaign is designed to piggyback on Target's effort to attract more seniors and working families by putting pharmacies in their larger stores, said Cory Black of the consumer group.

"We're calling on Target to do right by their customers, who aren't the large political donors spending $100,000 to have their picture taken with the governor," he said.

. . . .

The folksy ad features an announcer talking to an elderly woman.

"Target Corporation is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's biggest special interest donors -- money he's using to promote his agenda against consumers and affordable health care,'' the announcer says.

"Well snap my girdle,'' the elderly shopper answers. "They're using our money against us."

The ad slams Schwarzenegger for taking money from drug companies and vetoing a bill that would have made it easier to bring lower-priced drugs into the state from Canada.

It also suggests that Schwarzenegger's Proposition 76, which would give the governor more control over the state budget, would allow him to slash health care spending.

Since 2004, Target has given $100,000 to Citizens to Save California, which worked to qualify the governor's initiatives for the special election ballot, and $210,000 to the governor's California Recovery Team, which supports Schwarzenegger's political aims.

Target also spent $250,000 to back a referendum that erased a law that would have required many California businesses to provide health care for their workers, $100,000 to the California Business Properties Association, another of Schwarzenegger's backers, and tens of thousands of dollars to the state Republican and Democratic parties and legislators on both sides of the political aisle.

This isn't the first time the consumer group has gone after one of Schwarzenegger's donors. Earlier in the year, the group announced a boycott of the Gap, whose founder, Donald Fisher, has given more than $200,000 to the governor.

The company quickly announced that the contributions were from Fisher and his family personally, and not from the retailer.

That rapid response shows just how concerned companies that depend upon public supporter can be about any threat to their business, said Barbara O'Connor, a professor of political communications at Sacramento State University.

"These type of protests are modeled after the efforts in the 1970s of Action for Children's Television, which went after the advertisers of the Saturday morning cartoons,'' she said. "It can be a very effective consumer protest strategy, since companies know that their customers can vote with their feet.''