During Black Friday or Memorial Day weekend, Americans are used to being inundated with an endless amount of deals and discounts.
But during a massive hurricane? Ugh.
During Sandy, American Apparel, the Gap and Urban Outfitters caught flak for marketing faux pas.
It's not the first or last time that companies have attempted to use tragic events as a means to hawk products. Kenneth Cole angered Egyptians by suggesting their uprising was in regards to their new spring collection, while online shopping hub CelebBoutqiue used "#Aurora" in the wake of Colorado's theater shooting to sell a new dress.
Check out some of the marketing fails from Hurricane Sandy in the slideshow below:
As the East Coast battled Hurricane Sandy on Monday night, retailer <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/30/american-apparel-hurricane-sandy-sale_n_2045739.html">American Apparel put out an email blast offering 20 percent off </a>all items in nine East Coast states. The much-criticized header: "In case you're bored during the storm" didn't help matters. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/american-apparel-hurricane-sandy-marketing-dov-charney_n_2056410.html">CEO Don Charvey compounded the controversy</a> by later saying the ill-timed sale was "not a serious matter."
Urban Outfitters faced Twitter's wrath after Tweeting "This storm blows (but free shipping doesn't)!" to advertise a one-day only storm sale. An email for the sale featured <a href="http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/50927e69eab8ea3e69000010-590/urban-blasted-out-this-email-as-well--complete-with-a-gif-of-cats-and-dogs-raining-down-the-screen.jpg"> a GIF of Frankenstein with "Frankenstorm" written on top</a> and cats and dogs raining down the photo. To top it off, "ALL SOGGY" was the sales checkout code.
Groupon and Living Social
Groupon has offered <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/groupon-weirdest-deals_n_1652582.html">many strange deals before</a>, but the daily deals site offered not one, but two poorly timed deals in Sandy's wake. First: an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/01/groupon-hurricane-sandy-marketing-fail-company-continues-to-advertise_n_2058182.html?utm_hp_ref=small-business">offer for dinner at Dans le Noir</a> in Midtown, a restaurant that serves food in the dark. With a large part of Manhattan out of electricity, Groupon removed the deal but left up another that offered a <a href="http://www.groupon.com/deals/rustic-l-e-s?utm_medium=afl&utm_campaign=4003003&utm_source=rvs">two-course Moroccan meal at Rustic L.E.S. on Manhattan's Lower East Side</a>, an area hit particularly hard by the effects of Sandy. <a href="https://www.google.com/offers/home#!details/19c59f83035fe282/M5Y1X6UMRVPKASE7">Google</a> and <a href="http://eater.com/archives/2012/11/01/groupon-livingsocial-deal-with-hurricane-sandy.php">Living Social</a> also offered deals for restaurants closed by the hurricane.
Singer22, a retail store and website based in Long Island, attempted to lighten the blow of Sandy by insisting that "every cloud has a silver lining!" before offering 20 percent off purchases. CEO/Founder Jon Singer told ABC News that <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/10/hurricane-sandy-sales-good-business-or-bad-taste/">he offered the deal so people would not try and venture to retail locations</a>, which were forced to close.
Gap's Sandy tweet started out well enough by urging people to "stay safe." Then, after inviting people to shop on Gap.com, <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/gap-criticized-insensitive-tweet-during-hurricane-sandy-080500226.html">the Tweet featured suggested folks use Foursquare to check into "Frankenstorm Apocalypse - Hurricane Sandy."</a> The brand later took the Tweet down and issued an apology tweet saying: "Our check-in and Tweet earlier were only meant to remind all to keep safe and indoors." @CondescendingBrand replied: "@Gap ...then say that then. Don't try to be clever."
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/business/media/marketers-ride-the-coattails-of-a-storm-not-all-successfully.html">The Adler brand advertised a storm sale on both Twitter and through email</a>, urging customers to "storm our site" by entering the sale code "Sandy" at checkout. After apologizing, Adler still ran the sale but changed the code to "Stuckinside" or "Freeship1012."
The Andean Collection
E-commerce site the Andean Collection <a href="http://theandeancollection.blogspot.com/2012/10/storm-sale.html">announced a storm sale on their blog</a> the day Sandy was set to hit America. The post notes that the sale is "in honor of our impending doom," one that would last as long as the hurricane did. <a href="http://www.dmnews.com/hurricane-sandy-blows-in-unwelcome-e-commerce-deals/article/266594/">CEO/Founder Amanda Judge said she did not know the true severity of the storm</a> when she put up the sale.