Six Companies That Routinely Embarrass Themselves

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


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.

6. Abercrombie and Fitch

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.

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.

5. Spirit Airlines

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.'

Spirit is sure to exploit any big event or scandal. Like the secret service / prostitution ring.

And of course there was the tasteless BP oil spill-themed promotion.

4. Spencer's Gifts

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.

Earlier this month, the blogoshpere exploded over woman-hating shirts like this:


And this.


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.

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.

Critics often question if PETA exploits women in its anti-animal exploitation campaigns.

Or why PETA chooses to fat-shame.

Even a positive message — that veggies increase sexual stamina — was overshadowed by its questionable campaign critiqued for normalizing violence against women.

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.'

PETA has also infamously compared killing animals for meat to the Holocaust.

2. Urban Outfitters

The clothing company has faced a few controversies in the past. (See next slide.)

Urban angered the Anti-Defamation League for selling tee-shirts with Holocaust imagery.

The Navajo Nation sued when Urban claimed that it put authentic Navajo designs on underwear and flasks.

1. American Apparel

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.')

Charney has faced sexual harassment suits by former employees. (He's also been accused of hiring based on looks.)

But those aren't the only companies that make bonehead moves.

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