American Apparel is no stranger to controversy, and their new advertisement has landed the company back in hot water. Tuesday night while Hurricane Sandy was terrorizing the East coast, American Apparel sent out an email blast offering customers in the 9 states affected the worst 20 percent off their purchases for the next 36 hours. “In case you’re bored during the storm,” the ad leads off with, “Just enter SANDYSTORM at Checkout.”
Due to the severity of the storm, it is understandable why, to some, the advertisement came off as extremely insensitive. People quickly took to Twitterverse to express their frustrations. Mashable.com compiled a few of the negative tweets:
— Christine Lu (@christinelu) October 30, 2012
As if sexualized ads and harassment lawsuits weren’t enough for a boycott, @americanapparel sent out a “hurricane Sandy sale” mail. Ugh.
— Leigh Honeywell (@hypatiadotca) October 30, 2012
— David Honig (@davehonig) October 30, 2012
Despite the criticism, the company insists that the email came from a good place, and that no harm was intended. An American Apparel spokesperson told Fashionista.com that the motivation for the ad, “is 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.”
Although American Apparel has received the most backlash, they were not the only company that tried to capitalize on the storm. Gap and Saks Fifth Avenue both encouraged bored twitter followers to visit their websites. Gap later deleted the tweet and clarified their intentions via twitter.
With the death toll still rising in the aftermath of Sandy, people have not responded positively to companies that tried to profit while others were suffering. However, in all likelihood, there were many people who appreciated and used American Apparel’s discount. But does that make it right? You decide.