Urban Outfitters loves to put out controversial products before backtracking and apologizing for offending everyone. It's a great way for the company to stay in the spotlight and might as well be its main marketing strategy at this point. NPR took a look at the long list of UO faux pas in the past few years and basically came to the conclusion that this happens way too frequently for it to be considered an accident. Almost as if on queue, once or twice a year, UO is guaranteed to put out something insensitive, most recently a blood-splattered Kent State sweatshirt. Rinse and repeat. The best part of this piece is undoubtedly the term "cultural firebombs," which I will now attempt to fit into as many conversations as possible this week:
Here's a nowhere-near-exhaustive list of the company's cultural firebombs: the menacingly yellow "Chinese Man Costume" (1998); the "Ghettopoly" board game (2003); the "Everybody Loves a Jewish Girl" dollar-signs T-shirt (2004); the"New Mexico: Cleaner Than Regular Mexico" T-shirt (2005); the "Navajo Hipster Panties" (part of a collection, 2011); the Irish apparel line and the Holocaust-recalling star T-shirt (2012).
Not only that, but Urban Outfitters has made themselves a target of the design community as they've been known to rip pieces from independent designers without permission. UO isn't exactly in everyone's good graces, that's for sure. Though, aside from getting attention, this could be a totally different type of marketing ploy for a company who believes its customer demographic has skewed a little too young in recent years, attracting more teens than targeted mid-20-year olds. Keep doing you, Urban. At this rate you'll have completely alienated every single culture, religion, race and age group in no time.