Monday, March 28, 2016

The Past isn't Dead. It isn't Even Past.

Urban Outfitters

Ideas that Germans call Schnapsideen are those so stupid, you must have been drunk when you conceived them.

What kind of schnapps-idea is this? a German might ask. 

Urban Outfitters' Vintage Kent State University Sweatshirt is an example.

Whether a real offering or a PR ploy, the product was a Schnapsidee.

In 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired on anti-war student protesters at Kent State, killing four and wounding nine.

When Urban Outfitters released its product, the members of the Twitterverse into Vergangenheitsbew√§ltigung—the struggle to overcome the past—went ballistic.

The company quickly fired off a retraction:

Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.

The lesson for marketers? 

Those who forget the past are condemned to recall.
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