Ah, the holidays. A time when discount-crazy shoppers stay up all night in order to score the best deals on electronics and toys. A time when family and friends come together to drink and be merry. A time when Bloomingdale’s lands itself in extremely hot water by promoting date rape. Wait, what?
In an article by Reuters, the sticky situation is explained. In their Holiday 2015 catalog, Bloomingdale’s advertises for clothing line, Rebecca Minkoff, with the phrase, “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they are not looking.” Yikes, right? Now, you could chock this up to a mistake by the ad team, but it is clear that this is a problem for the PR team by the magnitude of the outrage that was outpoured after the release of the catalog.
Many took to Twitter to call out the retail store and their insensitive advertisement. Bloomingdale’s responded via Twitter with an apology: “We heard your feedback about our catalog copy, which was inappropriate and in poor taste. Bloomingdale’s sincerely apologizes.” Was the apology enough?
The short answer is no. The PR team at Bloomingdale’s had the opportunity to issue a heartfelt apology, and use the situation to do some good. For example, they could have donated money to organizations that are working to decrease the prevalence of date rape on college campuses. Or they could have donated clothing to an organization that supports survivors of sexual assault. However, they issued a short apology and didn’t do anything else.
Consumers want companies to show empathy and emotion. In order to gain the trust and continued patronage of consumers, it is up to the PR professionals to create a compassionate voice for companies.
Connect with me and let me know how you feel about Bloomingdale’s blunder.