Hipster megabrand Urban Outfitters may have hit an all time low this week.. The chain is well known for clothing items that push the envelope, and sometimes carry semi-offesive phrasing. But, all of this is in the past and looks minor compared to the latest blunder.
Urban Outfitters pushed out a “vintage” “one of a kind” crew-neck sweatshirt with the Kent State University logo on the front, and the item featured fake blood stains. The item seemed to be playing on the 1970 Kent State shootings that took place. The item sold out because there was only one. The owner of the infamous sweatshirt has placed it on eBay offering to charity.
Urban Outfitters has released a statement offering that the item was not meant to elude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State, but was simply a sun-faded hoodie. But not everyone is buying it.
Recently, UO has lost a large amount of their fan base and seem to be struggling to keep those who remain. This elaborate PR stunt was pathetic in trying to bring attention back to the floundering company.
Social media has taken to destroy the attempt and the backlash is causing most likely permanent damage. What most companies fail to see, and what is right in front of them, is that fans are easy to loose. Social media is making the spread of advertising blunders as easy as clicking a button. Although making advertisements and products that attract negative attention does indeed bring press, it can do more damage than good.
In the wake of the anniversary of 9/11 and due to changing society it is not appropriate to make jokes that involve tragedy. With the company already flailing, and this clearly making it worse, is there hope for Urban Outfitters to bounce back from this?
Ciambriello, R. (2014, September 15). Urban Outfitters Just Hit a New Low by Selling Bloody Kent State Sweatshirt. Retrieved September 18, 2014.