J.Crew T-Shirt & Toenails… Japanese Map Mistakes & Neon Pink Nail Polish on Boys

A double whammy for J.Crew, the ultimate uppity yuppie brand found itself in two faux pas in less than a week earlier this month. As a bit of a controversy theorist because I believe a strong brand can survive a good old public debate or two, one seems like a planned rile of right-wing conservatives to extend the attention. The map mistake probably ended up a rush job to jump on the bandwagon.

So here’s the summaries…

First, the Japanese Earthquake Relief T-Shirt, offered to help provide funds to the  Japanese Red Cross to help out. Unfortunately, some labels followed the Japanese version of maps and disputed islands and waterways claimed by South Korea were mislabeled, which resulted in an outcry from the Korean and Korean-American communities.

J.Crew has withdrawn the shirt and is redesigning it.

Then there’s “Saturday with Jenna,” as an employee/Mom spends a day with her 5-year-old son and paints his toenails a neon pink. This particular ad has outraged the right-wing conservatives who’ve taken to the air on Fox to decry that J.Crew supports and promotes “transgenedered” children.

Of the two controversies — within days of one another — any ideas which got more attention in social media?

According to what you can see on Facebook, the T-Shirt with 469 comments. The pink toenails earns only 130 comments.

Now I will admit that J.Crew can go in and delete these comments so, there’s a chance that there’s been an adjustment. But what J.Crew cannot do is change how people are following on Twitter.

The reports show no controversial blips in the numbers. J.Crew continues the steady rise it has always seen.

I believe that J.Crew knew its pink neon ad had the potential to stir up controversy. It’s very intelligent “no comment” for a non-issue and just sitting back lets the news create itself and allows the extreme right to appear as such while extending the name and reach of the piece. There’s no sudden burst, no hint of a plateau, nothing. We will have to see if this catches fire and gives J.Crew more of what they hoped, but in general, the results were achieved in getting their name out into the web0sphere and generate some buzz.


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