Hurricane Sandy Fuels Brand Slip-Ups
Many times, companies try to create content or promotions surrounding current events. Typically, this is a great strategy. It makes the brand more relatable to fans and thus makes them more likely to interact. Unfortunately, there are some instances where brands should steer clear of playing into current events. Before and during the monumental hurricane Sandy, there were a few brands that jumped into the territory of controversy.
On Monday night, the retailer sent out an email offering a 20% sale to those in the states most affected by Hurricane Sandy. The thought behind the promotion was to give those trapped at home because of the storm something to do while they waited the disaster out. The backlash American Apparel saw on social media portrayed them as a company using a cheap marketing ploy to capitalize on a horrific event.
“@Gap: All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of Gap.com shopping today. How about you?” Again, Gap was intending to warn shoppers to stay indoors and give them something to do to ride out the storm. And again, the backlash was perceived as an advertising gimmick in the face of a dangerous situation. Gap later removed the tweet and apologized to their followers, but as we all know, the screenshots that followers took cannot be erased.
Not a stranger from the world of controversy, Urban Outfitters also got in the mix with Sandy deals. The company sent out an email offering free shipping using the code “ALL SOGGY” and had an animation of raining cats and dogs.
Moral of the story… if you think the promotion or content you are putting out there is going to stir up a negative controversy, steer clear when it comes to serious issues and events. Better safe than sorry.