May 27, 2011
Online crisis phase 1
So, in case you’re not aware of it, the international fashion retailer is facing a bit of a brand crisis. In short, it has been accused by Stevie K of tru.che of copying a line of her jewellery. In the industry it appears that Urban Outfitters has something of a reputation for copying complimenting other designer’s work.
This claim struck a chord with the Tumblr community first. The micro blogging site (with its high proportion of fashionistas and creatives, all early adopters) was keen to back the little guy, but from there the movement against Urban Outfitters was picked up by the hugely influential Huffington Post, rounding off his article yesterday, blogger Jason Linkis, openly called for a boycott of the company.
The spike in social media mentions
Here are a few more insights of how the online sentiment has really gone against Urban Outfitters in the last 48 hours. The monitoring of social media estates reveals in the last 48 hours the negative sentiment from consumers is rising against Urban Outfitters. You can clearly see the leap in posts and tweets around the brand from midnight GMT on 26th May.
In the last 48 hours there have been more than 800 tweets with the word hate in conjunction with Urban Outfitters:
The normal average for daily mentions of Urban Outfitters is 1,470
The number of mentions yesterday topped 15,000 (that is a tenfold increase in 24 hours)
Mentions of hate/hating in conjunction with Urban Outfitters – 1,900 /25,000
Mention stealing in conjunction with Urban Outfitters – 1514/25,000
Mentions boycott in conjunction with Urban Outfitters – 6029/25,000
The word cloud below shows just some of the negative sentiment being expressed by consumers on Twitter: stealing, bastards, boycott and hating are prominent.
An inadequate response?
The US Urban Outfitters Twitter profile with more than 400,000 followers has, responded with the vanilla holding statement – “Hey guys, we see your tweets regarding the I Heart Destination necklace. Please know that our accessories buying team is looking into this.”
So why not kick back, get some snacks and see how this pans out. It’s going to take some deft footwork from Urban Outfitters’ PR dept to turn round this mass of negative sentiment with anything short of a public apology and remuneration for those with a designer axe to grind. This isn’t going to disappear from Google news results for Urban Outfitters for a while…
Here comes Miley
And once influential celebrities get a sniff of it you can be sure that they’ll make the biggest splash of all. In particular, Miley Cyrus’s tweet to her million plus fan base has been picked up in more than 180 news articles, dwarfing the number for the original story.
In short – If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… A celebrity on Twitter.