Is it true in marketing that all publicity is good publicity? Periodic forays into the land of questionable taste, such as selling what appeared to be a bullet-ridden and bloody Kent State sweatshirt in 2014, haven’t seemed to put Urban Outfitters out of business. So will the Coachella concert officials’ trademark infringement lawsuit against the Philadelphia retailer really make a dent?
Well, at least the women weren't topless or covered in fake blood. They just weren't there. Unlike the promotional mailing of GQ sporting a topless model, which Lands' End sent to its best customers, or the "bloody" pink Kent State sweatshirt Urban Outfitters listed in its site's women's section, Dick's Sporting Goods almost completely left females out of its "Basketball 2014" catalog, according to McKenna Peterson.
Urban Outfitters sold a "bloody," hole-filled "vintage" Kent State University sweatshirt until Monday. While it's possible some Americans may not know about Kent State, the massacre is burned into my mind and I wasn't even alive when it happened. In 1970, four unarmed students who had been protesting the Vietnam War were gunned down by Ohio National Guard troops who fired into the crowd. So many iconic images and still-popular songs resulted from the shootings that employees at Urban Outfitters shouldn't have even had to open a history book to understand why selling that sweatshirt was offensive. Then there's also the fact that the company is based in Philadelphia—in a state that shares a border with Ohio.