URBAN OUTFITTERS MISS THE TARGET AND STRIKE A NERVE.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 9.04.24 AMWhen a brand uses a marketing tactic so salacious, so outrageous, that the first thing you ask your self is “am I missing something”, you know that brand has pushed the boundaries too far.

And so, today, Philadelphia’s Urban Outfitters is forced to apologize and defend itself in the face of an egregious miscalculation. Consider that no sooner did the press get a hold of their pre-blooded “Vintage” Kent State Sweatshirt story that Urban Outfitters was forced to post an apology

Not just a social post screw up on the spur of the moment, this was a planned merchandising decision that likely included a dozen or more people weighing in… is there something toxic in the vending machines at UO’s corporate HQ?

And yet, Urban Outfitters just compounded the problem by stating that the shirt’s faux blood stains were unintentional: “The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt” was their official language. An explanation that truly makes them sound even more tone deaf to the cause and effect of their own merchandising and marketing, or just plain dishonest.

Ugly, ugly stuff.

Will Urban Outfitters face any long-term fall fall out? Will their core audience be miffed at the fuss, unaware about Ohio’s National Guard firing 67 rounds in 13 seconds which killed four Kent State students and injured nine more in one of America’s most ignominious incidents? I hope not.

There are marketing goofs. There a marketing fails. And then there is this. Something beyond. Something worse. Something that will bring a world of criticism right to Urban Outfitter’s door.

Not sure this one will go away without some serious restitution. But given the collective “intelligence” that went into making this decision, the marketing blood is squarely on their hands.

Published by Cliff Courtney

Cultural Anthropologist, Writer, Planner, Mad Scientist, Brand Strategist, Rider, Musician, Futurist, Professor, Teacher, Designer, Documentarian, Lecturer, Behavioral Scientist, Parent, Blogger, Weapon of Mass Construction...

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