Blog: Target's Manatee label weighs on communication

Petah Marian | 8 April 2013

The importance of internal communication was highlighted last week when a Target consumer discovered a product naming discrepancy that some plus-sized shoppers found offensive.

Target customer Susan Clemens discovered the retailer's website labelled the same size of dress in the same colour differently depending on size. The name of the grey plus-sized version was "Manatee Grey", while the standard sizes were "Dark Heather Grey".

The manatee is an aquatic animal, often described as a "sea cow", and weighs 400-550 kilograms. 

According to a report on, Target said there were two different teams of buyers responsible for the missy and plus-sized product lines, and the teams did not co-ordinate when they put the product information for the site.

One team used the colour's official name, Manatee Gray, which is used elsewhere on the site, while the other interpreted the colour's name.

Target, to its credit, responded quickly, apologised to Susan Clemens and, attempting to avoid any further offence changed the name of the colour on both standard and plus sizes to "grey".


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