Six Companies That Routinely Embarrass Themselves

american apparel
Just another American Apparel model controversy. (Censored by us.)

[credit provider=”www.thesun.co.uk” url=”http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4680748/Topless-American-Apparel-ads-banned-by-watchdog.html”]

Some companies have made so many horrible marketing or branding decisions, that their insanely crass moves barely even shock us anymore.At this point, underage and under-dressed American Apparel models or questionably racist shirts from Urban Outfitters seem to be part of the companies’ advertising strategies.

We’ve highlighted the brands that have the most checkered pasts.

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[slide
permalink=”6-abercrombie-and-fitch-1″
title=”6. Abercrombie and Fitch”
content=”Abercrombie has been making headlines for its questionable labour practices, racially insensitive tee-shirts, sexualization of little girls, and scintillating publication, ‘A&F Quarterly’ (which had mostly naked, young-looking models) for the last decade.”
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permalink=”one-of-afs-most-famous-gaffes-was-selling-a-tee-shirt-with-the-slogan-wong-brothers-laundry-service–two-wongs-can-make-it-white-in-2002-2″
title=”One of A&F’s most famous gaffes was selling a tee-shirt with the slogan “Wong Brothers Laundry Service – Two Wongs Can Make It White” in 2002.”
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permalink=”other-bad-idea-tee-shirts-include-past-slogans-on-girls-tees-that-read-available-for-parties-and-who-needs-brains-when-you-have-these-in-2005-and-female-students-wanted-for-sexual-research-in-2009-3″
title=”Other bad-idea tee-shirts include past slogans on girls’ tees that read “Available for parties” and “Who needs brains when you have these” in 2005 and “Female students wanted for sexual research” in 2009.”
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[slide
permalink=”af-also-has-a-history-of-selling-sexualized-lingerie-in-pre-teen-sizes-in-2002-it-pulled-underwear-with-phrases-like-eye-candy-and-wink-wink-in-2011-it-was-criticized-for-selling-push-up-bras-to-8-14-year-olds-4″
title=”A&F also has a history of selling sexualized lingerie in pre-teen sizes. In 2002 it pulled underwear with phrases like “Eye Candy” and “Wink Wink.” In 2011 it was criticised for selling push-up bras to 8-14 year olds.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”speaking-of-push-ups-an-af-email-was-leaked-to-the-press-that-stated-now-every-time-we-make-a-mistake–we-will-do-ten-push-ups-squats-for-women-this-will-bring-about-a-great-result-we-will-learn-more-from-our-mistakes-5″
title=”Speaking of push-ups, an A&F email was leaked to the press that stated: “Now every time we make a mistake […] we will do 10 push-ups. Squats for women. This will bring about a great result: we will learn more from our mistakes.””
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”thats-only-slightly-better-than-when-af-was-accused-of-discrimination-against-black-and-asian-employees-forcing-a-worker-with-a-prosthetic-to-work-in-the-stockroom-or-firing-muslims-for-wearing-headscarves-6″
title=”That’s only slightly better than when A&F was accused of discrimination against black and Asian employees, forcing a worker with a prosthetic to work in the stockroom, or firing Muslims for wearing headscarves.”
content=”Read more here.
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[slide
permalink=”5-spirit-airlines-7″
title=”5. Spirit Airlines”
content=”To advertise its cheap flights (with shockingly expensive carry-on fees), Spirit Airlines is known for its cheap, sex-joke laden campaigns.

For example, the airline sent strippermobiles down the streets of Vegas when advertising flights to and from LAX. The strippermobiles read, ‘I’ll go both ways for $18.'”
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[slide
permalink=”spirit-is-sure-to-exploit-any-big-event-or-scandal-like-the-secret-service–prostitution-ring-8″
title=”Spirit is sure to exploit any big event or scandal. Like the secret service / prostitution ring.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”at-the-height-of-the-anthony-weiner-twitter-scandal-spirit-launched-this-weiner-sale-alleging-that-it-was-too-hard-to-resist-9″
title=”At the height of the Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal, Spirit launched this “Weiner Sale,” alleging that it was “too HARD to resist.””
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”but-crass-campaigns-arent-limited-to-sex-scandals-in-2006-spirit-launched-the-hunt-for-hoffa-game-asking-consumers-to-dig-for-jimmy-hoffas-body-online-10″
title=”But crass campaigns aren’t limited to sex scandals. In 2006, Spirit launched the “Hunt for Hoffa” game, asking consumers to dig for Jimmy Hoffa’s body online.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”and-of-course-there-was-the-tasteless-bp-oil-spill-themed-promotion-11″
title=”And of course there was the tasteless BP oil spill-themed promotion.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”4-spencers-gifts-12″
title=”4. Spencer’s Gifts”
content=”The novelty shirt retailer is known for vulgar shirts.

While almost nothing the shop sells is surprising, immigrant phobic shirts (right) and a line of extremely sexist and derogatory tees have recently made headlines.”
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[slide
permalink=”earlier-this-month-the-blogoshpere-exploded-over-woman-hating-shirts-like-this-13″
title=”Earlier this month, the blogoshpere exploded over woman-hating shirts like this:”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”this-14″
title=”This.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”and-this-15″
title=”And this.”
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[slide
permalink=”3-peta-16″
title=”3. PETA”
content=”When the animal rights group isn’t throwing blood on fur, it’s coming out with shock-tactic advertising campaigns.

A mild example is when PETA put huge billboards outside of elementary schools in November with cute pictures of puppies, asking kids if they would eat their dog for Thanksgiving.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50a67cadecad04cc5800001e”
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[slide
permalink=”in-general-peta-uses-nearly-naked-celebrities-to-get-its-point-across-this-ad-likening-pamela-anderson-to-cuts-of-meat-was-banned-in-canada-17″
title=”In general, PETA uses nearly naked celebrities to get its point across. This ad, likening Pamela Anderson to cuts of meat, was banned in Canada.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”critics-often-question-if-peta-exploits-women-in-its-anti-animal-exploitation-campaigns-18″
title=”Critics often question if PETA exploits women in its anti-animal exploitation campaigns.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”or-why-peta-chooses-to-fat-shame-19″
title=”Or why PETA chooses to fat-shame.”
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”even-a-positive-message–that-veggies-increase-sexual-stamina-was-overshadowed-by-its-questionable-campaign-critiqued-for-normalizing-violence-against-women-20″
title=”Even a positive message — that veggies increase sexual stamina — was overshadowed by its questionable campaign critiqued for normalizing violence against women.”
content=”The ad showed bruised women in neck braces tentatively coming home to their Vegan, sex-crazed boyfriends.

They were suffering from ‘BWVAKTBOOM: ‘Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me.'”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f3acedeecad042b59000033″
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[slide
permalink=”peta-has-also-infamously-compared-killing-animals-for-meat-to-the-holocaust-21″
title=”PETA has also infamously compared killing animals for meat to the Holocaust.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c5e170ecad04951f00000a”
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[slide
permalink=”2-urban-outfitters-22″
title=”2. Urban Outfitters”
content=”The clothing company has faced a few controversies in the past. (See next slide.)”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5008690569bedd5a37000006″
caption=””
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[slide
permalink=”urban-angered-the-anti-defamation-league-for-selling-tee-shirts-with-holocaust-imagery-23″
title=”Urban angered the Anti-Defamation League for selling tee-shirts with Holocaust imagery.”
content=”Read more here>
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[slide
permalink=”and-again-when-it-sold-tee-shirts-in-2005-that-read-new-mexico-cleaner-than-regular-mexico-24″
title=”And again when it sold tee-shirts in 2005 that read, “New Mexico, Cleaner Than Regular Mexico.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c25cc6ecad04c278000004″
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[slide
permalink=”the-navajo-nation-sued-when-urban-claimed-that-it-put-authentic-navajo-designs-on-underwear-and-flasks-25″
title=”The Navajo Nation sued when Urban claimed that it put authentic Navajo designs on underwear and flasks.”
content=”Read more here>
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c25e1cecad04d178000015″
caption=””
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[slide
permalink=”and-of-course-there-was-the-time-when-the-retailer-introduced-a-tee-shirt-that-came-in-obama-black-in-2010-26″
title=”And of course there was the time when the retailer introduced a tee-shirt that came in “Obama Black” in 2010.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c25d1869bedd6e7b00000c”
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[slide
permalink=”urban-outfitters-is-also-one-of-several-defendants-in-a-28-million-lawsuit-for-printing-and-selling-tee-shirts-of-then-15-year-old-hailey-clauson-that-were-salacious-and-provocative-27″
title=”Urban Outfitters is also one of several defendants in a $28 million lawsuit for printing and selling tee-shirts of then-15-year-old Hailey Clauson that were “salacious” and “provocative.””
content=””
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[slide
permalink=”1-american-apparel-28″
title=”1. American Apparel”
content=”Was anyone really surprised to find out that American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was being sued by an employee for using homophobic and racial slurs before shoving dirt in his face?

(Charney’s lawyer says that this is ‘contrived and untrue.’)”
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[slide
permalink=”charney-has-faced-sexual-harassment-suits-by-former-employees-hes-also-been-accused-of-hiring-based-on-looks-29″
title=”Charney has faced sexual harassment suits by former employees. (He’s also been accused of hiring based on looks.)”
content=”Read more here.
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f7ca2e7ecad041f1b000015″
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[slide
permalink=”american-apparel-is-known-for-having-highly-sexualized-often-naked-models-in-its-ads-but-it-recently-got-in-trouble-for-doing-it-with-a-model-who-appears-to-be-under-16-30″
title=”American Apparel is known for having highly sexualized, often naked models in its ads. But it recently got in trouble for doing it with a model who “appears to be under 16.””
content=”Read more here.
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50bf3a11eab8eab36600000a”
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[slide
permalink=”which-makes-sense-since-the-retailer-sells-tee-shirts-saying-that-teenagers-do-it-better-31″
title=”Which makes sense since the retailer sells tee-shirts saying that “Teenagers do it better.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/50c26a83ecad047312000012″
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[slide
permalink=”american-apparel-also-showed-a-lack-of-common-sense-when-it-launched-a-hurricane-sandy-themed-flash-sale–for-a-storm-that-killed-more-than-one-hundred-and-left-millions-without-power-it-wasnt-that-serious-charney-said-32″
title=”American Apparel also showed a lack of common sense when it launched a Hurricane Sandy-themed flash sale — for a storm that killed more than one hundred and left millions without power. “It wasn’t that serious,” Charney said.”
content=”Read more here.
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/508ff79aecad04b073000000″
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]
[slide
permalink=”but-those-arent-the-only-companies-that-make-bonehead-moves-33″
title=”But those aren’t the only companies that make bonehead moves.”
content=”These are the biggest PR disasters of 2012>
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