The saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” was proven wrong recently by Urban Outfitters. Although the company has been known for its “edgy” clothing, the release of a “vintage sweatshirt” has generated noteworthy amounts of scrutiny.
The $129 Kent State University sweatshirt sported a blood-splatter appearance, which could only symbolize one thing: The 1970 Kent State University shooting. On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard killed four anti-Vietnam protestors and injured nine others. Many people are bewildered that a company would design a shirt evoking such a tragedy, especially the Kent State family.
Kent State University statement regarding Urban Outfitters’ sweatshirt:
After significant negative attention, the sweatshirt was removed from the website and Urban Outfitters issued an apology:
Urban Outfitters’ apology was hardly sincere. The company could have offered a genuine apology immediately and owned up to its misstep instead of trying to cover it up. After a inadequate explanation, it’s fair to say many people may opt for other stores instead of Urban.
This is not the first time Urban has displayed distasteful messages on its clothing. Discrimination against color, religion and people with mental illnesses have all been incorporated in the company’s clothing before but it seems that this stunt was the last straw for most shoppers.
There is such a concept as taking it “too far” and the shock value for this was not worth how many customers Urban may lose. To disrespect the deceased is out of line and to promote any harm on school grounds is a terrible marketing strategy. Numerous articles, blog posts and tweets have shared their disgust with the company and this negative attention will likely lessen their upcoming sales. Urban Outfitters really shot itself in the foot by selling tragedy.