Target Demographic

Buju Banton is dead wrong, but heís hatiní anyway

"People think of Palm Beach as old," Barshop says. As if on cue, two geezers totter by with walkers. "But it's not; it's getting younger all the time," she continues firmly. "We've got everything we need here: great shops, interesting people, a civilized way of being. To me, those girls who strut around Lincoln Road hanging out of their string bikinis — that's what's old."


Fly Spanish Catches Latin Honeys

Victoria Portugal doesn't get too close to the Choxie candies for fear of smearing her suit
The Bitch
Victoria Portugal doesn't get too close to the Choxie candies for fear of smearing her suit

Details

For only one day this past week, the rainbow-bright blight normally associated with Carlos A. Navarro's Pop Suave Gallery at 266 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables was thrown aside in favor of the welcome duochromatics of Target. The department store chain, one of The Bitch's favorite dog-mascot-employing retailers, took over the gallery space for a product-placing bombardeo aimed at Latin consumers.

The Bitch didn't think attracting such individuals would be difficult in Miami, but Victoria Portugal of Valencia, Pérez & Echeveste Public Relations — the South Pasadena, California-based firm given this task — explained. "Imagine you're trying to get successful second-generation Cuban-Americans who are affluent and educated to register with Target Weddings, one of our house brands," exclaimed Portugal, a stunning 23-year-old with long black hair; a deep, deep tan; and startling blue contact lenses contrasting her all-white suit. "I mean, having your wedding registry at Target? It's not an easy sell."

Isaac Mizrahi's fall fashions — which include some basic black party dresses ("inspired by Isaac's love of Audrey Hepburn," according to Portugal), butterfly-print skirts, and tulle-trimmed, fitted denim jackets — are probably less sell-resistant. At a glance, it is difficult to tell whether the pieces came from the Anthropologie at Merrick Park or the Target at Dadeland Mall. And there's a price point: Mizrahi's black tissue mohair tunics are only $19.99.

While Portugal pointed out more autumn-debuting wares from house lines of cosmetics, kitchen ware, and furniture, The Bitch noted how nice the gallery space looked — stripped to wood floors, white walls, and a few red-and-white Target logos.

Portugal described the space-preparation process. "A crew came in at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and worked through to 7:00 a.m. today, clearing some white space and then setting up our displays and racks," she said. "Tonight at 5:00 p.m. the same thing happens in reverse."

The Bitch had time to ask Portugal two very important questions.

Those television commercials for Choxie, those Target candies ... what's up with those?

"Oh, well, Target's always trying some very innovative types of advertising.... You noticed them, right?"

Yes, but dogs don't eat chocolate. So you and your agency specialize in marketing to ... a certain demographic. Which is the preferred term: Latin or Hispanic?

"Well, it's different from place to place," the born diplomat answered. "I've done a lot of product tours in New York City, and there Latino is used a lot. In California, where our firm is based, we usually say Hispanic. So generally I'd say Hispanic is more common, but both are okay."

The Bitch was about to observe that this is precisely the reverse of what she hears in South Florida, but just then a journalist from Casa & Estilo Internacional (which, for the record, calls itself a Hispanic lifestyle magazine) ducked in from the rainy boulevard. "This place is great," he said, looking around, apparently unclear on the visiting-marketing concept. "When can I bring my friends back here to shop?"

Portugal concluded her work marathon with a Thursday-night flight home to Los Angeles. "People in L.A. won't believe I came all the way out here and never saw Miami Beach," she mused.

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