For retail brand Urban Outfitters–which targets the edgy, insubordinate teen demographic with such classic subject lines as “We’re having a FLASH SALE! And that seriously NEVER happens!”–pissing off the Christian “culture warriors” at One Million Moms should be considered collateral success. The two groups clearly have little in common, except for one odd thing:
The chairman and founder of Urban Outfitters is 68-year-old conservative Richard Hayne, who once donated thousands to former Senator, uber-Republican and failed presidential aspirant Rick Santorum. Yes, this is where the semantics get complicated.
All PR professionals know that successful brands are built on a foundation of values, promises and attributes that collectively comprise brand identity—including individuals who run or work for the brand. For example, when the public thinks of Virgin Airlines we see the flowing white locks of unfettered free spirit Richard Branson.
Sure, Mr. Hayne may not be the face of Urban Outfitters, but he is a vital part of the brand’s internal workings. So the public can be forgiven for asking “What the f*ck was he thinking?” when this year’s Urban Outfitters holiday catalog featured a “Let’s F*cking Reminisce” book and a “Merry Christmas B*tches” mug among other profanity-emblazoned offerings ranging from candles to T-shirts.