Urban Outfitters Bloody Mess

Bradley W. Brooks, Steven M. Cox
January 1, 2015
North America
Marketing & Sales
Marketing, advertising, Keller's Brand Equity Model
Student Price: 
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.