Urban Outfitters Pulls Book Bashing Brand

Mid-October, The New York Daily News reported that Urban Outfitters pulled a book written by Gawker Media’s Jezebel blog due to harsh posts on the site that bashed the company. The book — The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things — is a guide to feminism, pop culture, fashion and much more.

urban-outfitters logo

Here are a few examples of what Jezebel wrote about Urban Outfitters:

Urban Outfitters Pulls Least Offensive UO Product From Stores
Williamsburg’s New Urban Outfitters Will Offer Upscale Food From Hell
6 Hideous Shoes Urban Outfitters Is Trying to Sell You
Urban Outfitters Really Doesn’t Want You to Know About Its Bed Bug Problem

The book was regarded as one that Urban Outfitters’ customers would likely have purchased. The clothing company sold a 2012 Jezebel book, and the publisher was surprised by Urban Outfitter’s decision not to carry the new book. In response to the conflict between the two companies, Gawker Media founder Mark Denton said,

“Urban Outfitters should realize that criticism from the women of Jezebel is a rite of passage.”

Dropping the book is not a clear-cut good PR decision for Urban Outfitters though. While no sales figures from the previous Jezebel book that the clothing store carried could be found online, it is possible that they may miss a significant source of profits. Urban Outfitters has also likely permanently damaged their relationship with the blog and its parent company, Internet powerhouse Gawker Media, ensuring many years of critical headlines to come.

jezebel book

 

What would you do if you were in Urban Outfitter’s position? Would you drop the book, or seek a way to reconcile with Jezebel? What PR strategies would you use to rebuild your image following Jezebel’s criticism?

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2 Responses to Urban Outfitters Pulls Book Bashing Brand

  1. Katherine Becerra says:

    I think this is a hard call. When it comes to the media, an organization can’t expect them to only publish positive stories. Also, if a bad story is published a company shouldn’t cut off ties. It’s the media’s job to be critical sometimes, but in this case Jezebel is very cynical. It seems like by dropping the book, Urban Outfitter was retaliating. I would have recommended keeping the book in stores. I think Urban Outfitter fans will continue to be fans, despite the Jezebel stories. The thing UO should take a look at is the alleged bug problem. That might be enough to change people’s minds about shopping at the store, otherwise, I think UO faithfuls wouldn’t be swayed by Jezebel.

  2. Katlyn Orton says:

    I honestly think that this was the best move for Urban Outfitters. The blog was clearly not a fan, so why would they support the writers? It just seems like it would be more embarrassing if they would have kept the book in stores since it would show that they aren’t interested in protecting their reputation. While I do agree that Jezebel might retaliate and write more bad headlines about Urban Outfitters, the reality is that they are already doing just that. I think that Urban Outfitters is a big enough company with a solid enough reputation to get through this without any large unsettling problems. Overall, I would do the same thing that store did and pull the Jezebel book.

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