The process goes something like this:
1. Release offensive item.
3. (Optional) Pull offensive item.
4. (Optional) Send half-hearted “sorry you were offended ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ” non-apology.
The company, which apologized for the Kent State sweatshirt on Monday, has this down to a science.
Here are a few of its most tasteless marketing tools from the last few years.
What happened? Urban’s infamous “Eat Less” shirt from 2010 is perhaps the company’s most controversial product. Sophia Bush even boycotted the store over the pro-anorexia shirt.
On a scale of 1-10, how sorry was Urban? 1. No apology, and it was still available in some stores.
The drinking is cool series
What happened? In 2012, Urban dropped a series of cutesy drinking shirts for which they garnered the usual outrage, with many people saying the tops targeted underage drinkers.
Who was mad? MADD, for one, saying the series promoted drinking to Urban’s target demo of 18-to-24-year-olds.
On a scale of 1-10, how sorry was Urban? Not sorry at all? Negative sorry? Though the shirts aren’t available anymore, booze items abound.
Was it pulled? Not at the time, but the shirts are no longer available.
On a scale of 1-10, how sorry was Urban? 3-ish. They actually apologized, but it was a classic “sorry you were offended” apology.
Ongoing: Racial stereotypes make funny clothes!
Who was mad? See above list.
(Maybe) Star of David T-shirt
What happened? In 2012 the company released this “Kellog Tee,” which many thought resembled the yellow Star of David Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.
On a scale of 1-10, how sorry was Urban? 1. Radio silence. The shirt’s designer, Wood Wood, however, did deny that the symbol on the shirt is the Star of David.