For Any Doubters of the All-Mighty Power of Social Media…UO PR Disaster

image courtesy of stevie koerner

courtesy of urban outfitters

Notice anything about the two items above? Despite the fact that they look eerily similar…ok, fine, EXACTLY the same – the first image was the original item made by Etsy designer Stevie Koerner aka @imakeshinylove  and the second was a complete and utter ripoff by Urban Outfitters.

Now I have to say one thing about this – obviously we all know that large corporations constantly ripoff independents for their creativity and unique ideas.  Its part of what makes the big bucks go round.  But to be so blatant about it is simply stupid.  Maybe they could have gotten away with a stunt like this 5 years ago.  But in today’s social media-enfused world?  Check out the results of what a tweet started here.

I’ve personally experienced the power of social media a few times.  Having had a bad experience here or there with certain brands, a simple tweet or FB message was about 10 000 times more effective and garnered an almost immediate response from the companies resulting in a satisfied customer.

Whether you are a large company or a small independent, its a fact that social media can’t be ignored.  Urban Outfitters at this point in time has not even so much as tweeted a response.  The problem definitely won’t go away if you brush it under the rug, in fact, this type of PR nightmare deserves an immediate response.  What could be the holdup?!

The other disturbing part of this story is the copycatting.  Its rare to find a truly original idea whether its in fashion, home decor, literature, cooking…etc.  But copycatting has always driven me a bit batty because at the root of it lies complicity, insecurity or just plain laziness.

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery but rarely does the imitatee ever feel this way.

So – will you be boycotting Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie/Free People to support independent artists?

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3 Comments to “For Any Doubters of the All-Mighty Power of Social Media…UO PR Disaster”

  1. Thx for your comments guys – yes we would think there would be some recourse but unless they want to get involved in a costly and lengthy legal process most would probably just shake their fist and take to the blogosphere. Seems that many will be boycotting UO et al though based on the poll!

  2. Don’t these indie artists and designers have any recourse? This makes me rage HARD! I’d sue the bastards, but that’s just me.

  3. Wow – a portion of every Urban Outfitters’ sales of this piece should go to the artisan! Boo on them and every other thief out there.

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