Kent State University in Ohio was the site of a horrific shooting in May of 1970, and now, the campus must relive the unfortunate event through the offensive actions of retail company Urban Outfitters. The clothing company recently released a new sweatshirt that resembled one from Kent State. However, this item of clothing had what appeared to be splattered blood splotched all over. Due to this mockery of a tragedy, Urban Outfitters has received severe backlash for this controversy, which is exactly what I believe they were looking to obtain.
Urban Outfitters has done many controversial things in the past. For example, they have sold tank tops that told consumers to “Eat Less,” stole necklace designs from a freelance jewelry maker on Etsy.com, and even used the current President’s name as a color choice for a t-shirt (I’ll let you guess what color they had him represent). This clothing company uses ploys such as these in order to get a rise out of the public, thus gaining attention. The kind of attention they get clearly does not matter to them, nor do the consequences that usually follow, but Urban Outfitters and countless other companies have used controversy as a means of garnering awareness of their company’s existence.
Although using painful cultural issues and historical events has proven to be successful in receiving more news coverage, it only goes to show how our capitalist-driven society’s obsession with financial gain has reached new heights. Consumers need to be mentally aware of ploys such as these in order to understand why companies like Urban Outfitters pull these antics. These actions were incredibly insensitive and disrespectful, and if you’re aware of these marketing techniques, then avoiding these immature companies becomes much easier.