Primary File

Urban Outfitters Bloody Mess

Bradley W. Brooks, Steven M. Cox
January 1, 2015
North America
Marketing & Sales, Strategy & General Management
4 pages
marketing, advertizing, keller's brand equity model, brand, Equity
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.76)
Average rating: 

Urban Outfitters, as part of their vintage line, came under severe criticism for selling a sweatshirt with a Kent State University logo that included red splotches that resembled blood stains. The outrage stemmed from a Vietnam era shooting on campus by National Guard Soldiers that left ten students wounded and four dead. The criticism was generating significant attention for the product and for the brand, albeit universally negative attention. The issue for Urban Outfitters was whether/how to respond to the negative outcry against the brand for offering a sweatshirt deemed to be making light of such a horrific tragedy.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. The student will be able to identify the risks and rewards of a controversial product design.
  2. The student will be able to identify and evaluate risks to brand equity from a controversial product offering using Keller’s Brand Equity Model.
  3. The student will be able to propose a course of action to respond to a controversy regarding a product offering.