Urban Outfitters has been making a lot of headlines lately…and not in a good way. Their clothes have been raising many concerns in the media. Their newest styles touch upon many current controversial topics. First of all, there was a highly questionable t-shirt with the words “Eat Less” in script across the front. The unrealistic body ideal that has been set by stick thin models has been a marketing concern for years, and many companies have made a point to have more realistic models displaying their clothes. For Urban Outfitters to disgrace what many consider to be a very serious problem with society today, has gained them many haters.
Urban recently posted a photo of a new sweatshirt over this past weekend. The sweatshirt says Kent State University and is very clearly supposed to look blood splattered. Over 40 years ago there was a tragic shooting at Kent State University, and for Urban to evoke these memories, and in such a senseless way, seems like a poor marketing strategy.
They also aim a lot of their focus on blatantly referencing drinking on their t-shirts. They have an entire line of shirts with different alcohol references stated across the front. 17.6 million people have some form of alcohol abuse, or 1 in every 12 adults. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance and for Urban Outfitters to so openly support it does nothing to improve their image.
It comes as no surprise that in the most recent quarter, Urban suffered a 1% decline in their sales, while their competitors Free People and Anthropologie saw significant double digit gains. Perhaps this is because of their questionable choices in new merchandise, or perhaps it’s because they described their customers as “”upscale homeless.” The CEO of Urban, Ted Marlow, admitted that their lack luster performance was due to “missed fashion calls, off-pitch marketing and poor creative execution.” No one is arguing that.
Do I Stay or Do I Go?
I, as a frequent customer of Urban Outfitters, am now wondering what they are thinking with all of these new controversial clothing items. Perhaps their goal is to be more highly talked about? It really is only attracted negative press and damaging their previously good reputation. Their competitors appear to be surging ahead in sales, perhaps it’s because they’re skipping out on insulting the public.
I am a frequent Urban shopper, however after all of the negative press they have been receiving lately, I will certainly reconsider ever purchasing things from them again. This new marketing campaign will, in my opinion, be the death of their thriving enterprise.