While Target has officially opened its new store in Windsor today, the company held a soft launch on Monday specifically for media to help generate attention for the launch manifested through written articles, television segments and even live tweeting of the affair. Media attention is common practice when a large retail stores opens up a in a new city – let alone a new country – however, some are taking exception to the media attention swirling around the big-box retailer.
“I found it interesting how much the mainstream media focused their attention on this,” explained Jamie Greer, who manages The Manchester restaurant and is a self-described community advocate.
Greer finds it to be “baffling” that Target would receive so much media attention when there are “so many small, independent, locally run and created businesses, from restaurants to specialty boutiques” that do not receive anywhere near the same level of media attention.
“It just screams that they’re trying to get advertisements, and they’re essentially giving a company that has billions of dollars, that could easily pay for full page ads in the Windsor Star, free advertising for twenty-four hours,” expressed Greer.
“The reality is that newspapers must fill column space, television must fill black and radio must fill dead air, and in doing that, stories that may seem secondary or tertiary or irrelevant often get covered and receive prominence in a news cast simply because of that. It’s just the daily news agenda,” stated The University of Windsor’s digital journalism program director Blake Roberts who added that if any news organization ignored the story they would “potentially be losing audience share and losing that competitive battle with other news organizations.”
Greer thinks that the mainstream media focused on the day as if “the Queen or the Pope came to Windsor and it seemed like such an asinine waste of journalistic time when there’s so many other local businesses that don’t get that kind of press in five years.”
“We are living in a period perhaps when many of these social media technologies and venues are relatively new to us and we’re still trying to figure out what they are useful for [and] there’s a wow factor to them,” explained Roberts who added, “personally, I think it’s over doing it, using these technologies to cover something like that,”
Greer would rather independent businesses receive increased media attention rather than bigger businesses because “they’re struggling to compete. Essentially, they’re goldfish in a sea of sharks. They don’t have the resources, the billion dollar marketing, the ingrained marketing that’s on every TV station … these people need the attention to get the interest.”
At the Windsor location, Mohammad Moharmmi admitted he had seen the news coverage of the store and decided to browse the selection. “It’s okay, but it’s not great,” he said. “I thought the prices would be better, but then again, we do live in Canada, so we have higher tax rates.”
“Live tweeting the event might be excessive, but then again, everybody uses cell phones now all the time, so maybe it’s appropriate,” expressed Moharmmi.
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.