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Target Pride Merch, Skinny Jeans, and a Bad Brand Deal on The Viral List

We round up the most viral moments of the week… 


  • Despite positive viral buzz, some Target pride merch has caused an influx of hate, and not everyone is happy with how the brand responded
  • An influencer and skin care brand Bioré had to apologize for a brand deal viewers found insensitive
  • Gen Z men are over skinny jeans, and are sharing their style glow ups with new, trendier pant styles

Target’s viral pride merch also caused controversy 

YPulse has told you before that young consumers have a critical eye when it comes to brand campaigns for Pride month: they can see right through a money grab from companies who don’t truly give support to the LGBTQ+ community. But year after year, Target has been earning the approval of young queer people thanks to their Pride collections, which are adorned with more than just rainbows and the slogan “Love is Love.” This year, their premiere item is a crop top which says, “Live Laugh Lesbian,” with even the font playing on the Millennial mom-chic “Live Laugh Love” décor. Influencer Matt Bernstein said while some find it cringe, they say “It’s high camp. I want it on everything.” 

However, not all their shoppers were pleased with the collection: some found the collection inappropriate, claiming items like “tuck-friendly” swim bottoms were being marketed to children, though items of complaint were largely adult merchandise. On TikTok, the hashtag #BoyCottTarget has 31M views, with creators encouraging others not to shop with Target anymore because of the items. Just as other brands have been caught in the “Culture-War Crosshairs” for showing support to the LGBTQ+ community, Target says their employees have faced threats for the merchandise being in stores. In response, they pulled certain items in the collection, and “moved its Pride collection away from the front of stores in some Southern states out of what it said was concern for workers’ safety.”  

But though the brand said these choices were intended as safety measures for Target workers, there’s critics for how the retail corporation responded. Target spokespersons have stated the company stands firm in their “longstanding commitment to the LGBTQ community,” but for some shoppers, their actions say otherwise. Some say this was the time for Target to double-down on their support and tell people “If you don’t want it, don’t buy it.” For brands, this appears to be the standard Pride conundrum now: show support for the LGBTQ+ community or cater to consumers who wish they hadn’t.  

An influencer was called out for mentioning school shooting in a skin-care brand deal 

In a sponsored post for Bioré skin care, Michigan State University graduate Cecilee-Max Brown shared how the recent shooting on campus affected her mental health. However, she mentioned it alongside life obstacles like “having no idea what life is going to look like after college,” layered over videos of her working out and using a pore strip. The video didn’t sit right with viewers, who found the contrast between the upbeat nature of the video and the mention of a serious tragedy insensitive.  

The brand says the campaign intended to allow partnered creators to share “authentic and unfiltered” stories in order to “strip away the stigma” and promote open conversations about mental health—but viewers were uncomfortable with the videos still advertising their skincare products. Both Max-Brown and the brand issued apologies, with Bioré stating it, “let our community down and we let our creators down by not providing better guidance.” Young people are quick to call out brands and public figures who don’t meet their standards, but YPulse data shows 49% of young people say they feel they can trust a brand more when they’re honest about making a mistake.  

This week on TikTok: Gen Z men are disavowing skinny jeans now, too 

Gen Z women long ago decided that skinny jeans were a Millennial wardrobe item, and that they prefer looser styles like mom jeans and even ‘70s-style flare jeans. But it seems Gen Z men are just now catching up, and going viral for showing the before and after of their wardrobes as they ditch their skinny jeans. Instead, they’re going for trousers, utility pants, and wide leg jeans, and they’re sharing both how they style them and where to shop.  

Videos like @Jansoomich’s and @Mccorradi’s, both titled “POV: you finally stopped wearing skinny jeans,” have gained millions of views and likes as they show how their style had a glow up post-skinny jeans. Commentors on the latter’s video were very much in support of this transformation, with one even commenting, “Every man needs to watch this tiktok.” Luckily, for the Millennial men especially who might be scared to follow Gen Z’s trend, creators like @Thestyleturnernyc have made videos of “How to wear wide-fit pants as a Millennial man,” which has nearly 400K views.  

YPulse’s Fits for The Feed trend report data shows that while young males are less likely to say they express themselves through their clothing than young females, 59% still say social media influences the clothes they wear—meaning viral fashion trends are not just for womenswear (and brands should not dismiss men’s fashion). 

Links We’re Passing:  

Fashion: Dua Lipa’s collab with Versace channels Y2K 

TikTok has dubbed this clutch (with a built-in lighter) the bag of the summer 

TikTok: This trending filter claims to show users whether or not they’re photogenic 

Some days are just filler episodes or for “rotting in bed,” and that’s self care 

Misinformation: Viral photos of an explosion at the Pentagon were likely made by AI, and were spread by verified Twitter accounts impersonating news sources 

Movies: Five Nights at Freddy’s is trending after a trailer for the upcoming movie  

Influencers: TikTok “It girl” Alix Earle got “stranded” on vacation, so Airbnb hooked her up with a luxury Italian villa  

Music: Ice Spice joined Taylor Swift’s new album on a remix of “Karma” 

Kali has her first Billboard Hot 100 hit thanks to TikTok’s love for “Area Codes”