Target, two years since contributing to a politician opposed to gay marriage, is selling Pride T-shirts and passing the proceeds on to a pro-gay group. - 

Jeremy Hobson: Target launched a new line of Gay Pride T-shirts. That's an interesting move for the retailer - because it's got a somewhat rocky history with the gay community.

Marketplace's Stacey Vanek Smith reports.


Stacey Vanek Smith: Two years ago, Target donated $150,000 to help a political candidate who opposed gay marriage. Some gay activists called for a boycott.

That's part of why these T-shirts are a smart move, says Tim Bennett is an ad executive who specializes in marketing to the gay community.

Tim Bennett: Anytime a company recognizes their gay consumers, it's important.

Still, Bennett says, Target's efforts are a little half-baked.

Bennett: I would have been more impressed if they had actually stocked all their stores with the shirts.

The shirts are only available online. Target told Marketplace the Internet is the best way to reach all of its consumers.

Tom Roth with Community Marketing Inc. in San Francisco says it's still significant.

Tom Roth: This is actually the cutting edge.

Roth says Target joins companies like Walgreens, Johnson and Johnson, Orbitz and J Crew. They're all reaching out to gay consumers.

Roth: We want to see that. We're craving that. When Target does something like this, it makes a huge impression.

Target is selling the T-shirts through the end of June -- coinciding with Gay Pride Month. It will donate up to $120,000 of the proceeds to a nonprofit that supports gay families.

In New York, I'm Stacey Vanek Smith for Marketplace.

Follow Stacey Vanek Smith at @svaneksmith