Target has taken some heat this week after announcing its move toward gender-neutral in-store labeling.
The epicenter of the backlash seemed to be on Target’s Facebook page, which received a steady stream of nasty comments from upset customers.
To help Target deal with the backlash, Facebook user Mike Melgaard decided to pose as Target with a fake Facebook account Ask ForHelp, complete with a bull’s-eye profile pic and comically sarcastic replies.
Melgaard told AdFreak that he came up with the idea while he was surfing Facebook on Sunday night and noticed that Target was moving away from gender-based labels in both the toy and children’s bedding sections.
“Immediately, I knew there would be your typical outraged American spouting emotional reactions on their Facebook page,” he says. “After taking a look, I was literally laughing out loud at my computer. A few more minutes in and it struck me how hilarious it would be to portray myself as a parody customer service rep. So, I did just that, and the rest was history. Honestly, it was like striking comedy gold. Every one of these people gave me the ammunition I needed for a great response.”
The self-described “pot-stirrer” said his stunt was meant to be more about the comedy than taking a stance on the issue. “I definitely side with Target and support their decision wholeheartedly,” he says. “That being said, this was, for me, more about the laughs. I absolutely love satirical humor, and I think America could use a little more laughter.”
Target gave issued the following statement to AdFreak on Thursday: “At Target, we are committed to providing outstanding guest service to our guests wherever we engage with them—in our stores, online, or on our social pages. Clearly this individual was not speaking on behalf of Target. Should guests ever have questions on whether a communication from Target is legitimate, we encourage them to reach out to guest relations at 1-800-440-0680.”
Melgaard says he was able to get away with his trolling for about 16 hours, responding to more than 50 posts before the fake account was shut down. Check out some of his best work below: