Urban Outfitters is terrible with this bloody Kent State University sweatshirt. They claim to not have known the significance of a particularly dark moment in US history. That is pure bullshit, and the folks at product marketing wanted shock value, but maybe went too far? However:
So is Urban Outfitters run by a bunch of jerks? Perhaps, but—and this is an important but—they’re jerks with business sense. Urban Outfitters Inc, the company that owns Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, and Bhldn brands, recently announced record quarterly sales of $811 million. If courting controversy was bad for the bottom line, Urban wouldn’t be doing it. That begs the question: Is any publicity good publicity, as the saying goes, or will the company eventually suffer if it goes too far over the line?
Another factor that may reward an offend-first strategy is that millennials, Urban Outfitter’s core demographic, are especially difficult to reach because they’re constantly bombarded with stimulation and advertising. According Yarrow, it may take something truly shocking to break through all of the noise. A bloodstained sweater referencing an event most young people only vaguely know about might be what it takes to bring the Urban Outfitters brand to the forefront.
Yarrow doesn’t think the company will suffer for its Kent State gaffe. “If they apologize in any way, and a half-hearted apology is their typical pattern, then they’re partially forgiven,” she explained.
We’re the ones, as potential customers, who answer that question. Speaking as someone with hipster tendencies and the money to buy stuff at Urban Outfitters, they’re not getting any of my hard-earned cash. Especially given the plethora of violence in the news with law enforcement killing citizens, this is totally and utterly distasteful and tone-deaf to history and now.
Urban Outfitters caused a huge controversy when it began selling a Kent State University sweatshirt with fake blood stains. Sadly, this is not the first mistake Urban Outfitters has made, in fact here’s a list of 7 Most Insensitive Choices By Urban Outfitters.