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Posts Tagged ‘Urban Outfitters’

Urban Outfitters CEO Says Messy Stores Are Costing the Company

urban outfitters1For a minute there, it seemed like Urban Outfitters was making headlines regularly for putting one controversial item or another on its shelves. So when the company comes out and says that it has experienced a seven percent decline in profits for the third quarter, you’d think it’s because all the bad publicity finally caught up with them.

You’d be wrong.

The CEO of Urban Outfitters, Richard Hayne, says the issue is with how messy the stores are. The stores are “needlessly overassorted and piecey, which made the shopping experience more difficult and less appealing,” he said on a call with analysts. He compares the results to those of the company’s other businesses to show where Urban Outfitters went wrong.

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Urban Outfitters Semi-Apologizes for Kent State Sweatshirt with Blood-Red Stains

The latest installment of the “Urban Outfitters hocks yet another terribly-offensive clothing item” saga centers around this Kent State shirt, complete with what looks rather unmistakeably like blood stains. enhanced-16199-1410759430-11

What was listed as a $129 “vintage” shirt struck most people who saw it as a tasteless, insensitive reminder of the Kent State Massacre that left four people dead in 1970. As the image swirled around the internet and outrage mounted, even Kent State itself made its disgust known, saying in a statement:

“We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit…This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.We invite the leaders of this company as well as anyone who invested in this item to tour our May 4 Visitors Center, which opened two years ago, to gain perspective on what happened 44 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.”

In response to the flood of complaints, Urban Outfitters issued a semi-apology for the product on Monday morning, saying “We deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively.”

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Urban Outfitters (Again) Pulls Ganesh Products After Offending Hindus


Another day, another retailer offending members of a major religion by co-opting one of its most revered symbols.

Unlike the recent case of designer Roberto Cavalli and a design that just happened to very closely resemble the symbol used by Sufi Muslims to denote God, this one involving Urban Outfitters‘ pillow covers can’t quite be addressed with a completely unbelievable “but we didn’t know!” statement or the “third party vendors!” explanation used to dismiss stories about Amazon, Sears and Walmart selling posters of a concentration camp.

The issue here, as reported by BuzzFeed, is that Urban Outfitters carried pillows bearing the clear image of Lord Ganesh as part of a series created by an artist who does not seem to belong to the Hindu faith.

This isn’t the first time UO has stepped in the (metaphorical!!) elephant dung, either…

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Urban Outfitters Stops Selling ‘Depression’ T-Shirt After Backlash

ht_urban_outfitters_depression_tee_2_sr_140116_16x9_608To Urban Outfitters, it was a t-shirt with a logo on it, but to many livid customers, it was an offensive piece of clothing boasting the name of an oft-misunderstood and stigmatized illness.

The article of attire in question, a white cutoff t-shirt with the word “Depression” plastered all over it, has been pulled from the retailer’s website after numerous outraged people took to social media to complain. Here are a few tweets that were lobbed in Urban Outfitters’ direction:

The company responded to the uproar over the weekend by halting sales of the shirt and taking to social media to both apologize and explain the origin and intention of the top. Some key phrases in the retailer’s tweets were the following: Read more

10 of the Best Brands on Vine

Twitter’s Vine short video sharing service is the new thing. You’ve probably heard of it–you may have even seen what was supposed to be the world’s first Vine press release. And you’re going to keep hearing about it, because six-second video loops are quick, impressionistic and perfect for our social media age.

Laugh if you must, but some brands have already proven this newest buzzy toy to be a worthy tool for spreading the (branded) message around social media. We searched the Internet high and low to find some examples of brands using Vine to get their names out there in creative ways–along with a couple that don’t quite make the cut.

1. General Electric: We don’t even care whether GE’s “six second science” series directly promotes the company’s products. It is awesome.

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Girls, Urban Outfitters Want to Pay Your Rent for a Year

HBO's GirlsThis week marks the return of HBO‘s Girls (and the many, many articles telling us why we should love it, hate it or stop complaining about it). We don’t really have too many feelings about the show one way or the other, but we would like to point out the creative promo contest dreamed up by HBO and Urban Outfitters:

The two brands, which happen to have similar Millennial (and, let’s face it, largely female) target audiences, will provide one lucky winner with a full apartment makeover and a year’s worth of free rent–all fans have to do is follow both accounts on Twitter and tweet Instagram shots of themselves in their totally awesome apartments along with the hashtag #UOxGIRLS to enter! (We would mention that said “makeover” is really just a $5000 gift certificate to Urban Outfitters, but hey–ironic t-shirts might double as wallpaper.)

Jezebel reminds us that the Girls themselves are way too concerned with “authenticity” to shop at UO and that HBO’s various product placement and promotional deals go against the show’s hyper-realistic, anti-consumerist tone.

This is probably true. But it’s still a pretty good idea for a campaign.

5 Great 2012 Instagram Branding Campaigns

InstagramThere’s been a bit of drama on the social media photo-sharing front recently, hasn’t there? We didn’t spend too much time following the playground Twitter vs. Instagramfilter fight” that had tech bloggers wondering which property would come out on top or the recent outrage over new privacy policies–and we still think Instagram will be the visual branding tool of choice for the foreseeable future.

On that note, we thought we’d highlight a few  successful Instagram projects from 2012 via brands that know how to do visual PR.

(Quite a few brands have great Instagram accounts, but for the purposes of this post we only considered theme-driven branding campaigns.)

Five names that stood out in 2012:

  1. Ben and Jerry’s
  2. Ford
  3. Burberry
  4. Urban Outfitters/Free People
  5. Bergdorf Goodman

Click through for some notes on each:

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What the F*ck Is Urban Outfitters Thinking?

Urban Outfitters 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.

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More Poorly Executed Hurricane Sandy PR

Add Gap to the list of brands criticized for releasing Sandy-themed marketing messages during the storm. First there was American Apparel‘s “Sandy Sale“; then there was the Urban Outfitters email blast reading: “This storm blows (but you know what doesn’t?)” Yeah, that would be free shipping on all orders.

On Monday, Gap’s official Twitter feed earned negative feedback (and a full Mashable post) for trying to do the impossible: making statements of support for hurricane victims while simultaneously performing its primary purpose and promoting the Gap brand. Here’s the offending message:

OK, is this message insensitive? It could be seen that way, considering the fact that many who live in the affected area are currently without power and others suffered damage to their homes during the storm. Is it dumb? Certainly, because we can’t imagine too many people counting the hurricane lockdown period as a perfect time to buy chinos online. Was it “on brand”? Absolutely. Again, the purpose of the feed is, above all else, to promote the Gap.

Should we be offended by it? Come on.

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Summer is Off to a Crap Start for Urban Outfitters

I heart California from the truche jewelry line

Urban Outfitters might not be enjoying the Memorial Day weekend as much as the rest of us now that a jewelry copycat caper is ping-ponging all over social media.

Earlier this week, a jewelry designer simply known as Stevie with a Tumblr account, i make shiny things, and an Etsy store called truche wrote a post about how Urban Outfitters stole her design. Everything right down to the name of the line of trinkets. “The World/United States of Love line that I created is one of the reasons that I was able to quit my full-time job,” wrote the designer.

Her story is getting major pick up, with some commenters calling for a boycott.

*Update after the jump.

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