American Apparel sparks outrage after using Hurricane Sandy devastation as marketing tool for internet sale
16:10 GMT, 31 October 2012
Youth brand American Apparel has once again fuelled a backlash after using the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy as a marketing tool to promote a sale of its products.
As the storm threatened to make landfall along the East Coast and millions of homes braced for lack of power and flooding, the controversial clothing company sent out an e-mail to those in Sandy’s path offering a 20 percent discount.
After the provocative email launched the 36 hour sale to relieve ‘boredom’ from the storm, many took to Twitter outraged by the inappropriate and exploitative nature of the sales pitch.
Offensive: American Apparel sent out this e-mail circular to customers living in the path of Superstorm Sandy
Mashable highlighted an angry tweet from David Honig that read: ‘Really @americanapparel Sandy Sale email blast really The lowest of low. RT this if you are insulted.'
Whitney Hess agreed: 'I just received a ‘Hurricane Sandy sale’ email blast from @americanapparel. I will forever boycott their stores. RT if you’re with me.’
Fashionista contacted American Apparel for comment and was reassured that the e-mail ‘came from a good place.’
A spokesman defended the decision, explaining that ‘retail stores are the lifeline of a brand like ours so when they are closed, we need to come up with ways to make up for that lost revenue.
‘People forget how expensive it is to run a Made in USA brand like American Apparel and if we made a mistake here it came from the good place of trying to keep the machine going–for the sake of our employees and stakeholders.’
Cashing in: A Steven Alan store. They also advertised promotions to take advantage of Sandy
Attention was also drawn to the company’s Corporate Responsibility page and a guarantee made that American Apparel would respond to this disaster in the same ‘charitable’ way that it has dealt with similar emergency situations.
The homegrown brand was not alone in seizing on the opportunity of millions of people being trapped in their homes as a way to generate internet sales, however.
Shopping website Racked compiled a roundup of other stores offering similar ‘Sandy’ themed sales including Steven Alan, Williamsburg’s Catbird and Lauren Moffat.
Customers were prompted to enter promo codes such as SANDYFREESHIP or SANDY to receive deals on free shipping or discounts as their store locations remained closed during and after the storm.
Even Saks Fifth Avenue tweeted: For those of you going stir crazy – our http://Saks.com site is happy to entertain you…’