In recent business blunder news, the Adidas marketing team is recovering from an awkward faux pas after sending what was supposed to be a congratulatory email but instead ended up referencing and making light of a national tragedy.
After the Boston Marathon, this year’s runners received an email from Adidas with a subject line that read, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”
This subject line was wildly inappropriate, for obvious reasons.
Adidas received serious backlash for the email, again, for obvious reasons — the tragic Boston Marathon bombings occurred just four years ago, when two homemade bombs detonated near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.
What makes the situation even more awkward is that at least two survivors of the bombings — Marc Fucarile and Patrick Downes — had also participated in this year’s marathon.
“We are incredibly sorry,” said Adidas in an email statement. “Clearly, there was no thought given to the insensitive e-mail subject line we sent Tuesday…The Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we’re reminded of the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event.”
The email was supposed to be an innocent, congratulatory note for elite runners. Just 2.5 hours per week of aerobic physical activity such as swimming, bicycling, or running can decrease the risk of chronic illness, but only the world’s best marathon runners can finish a race in 2.5 hours. But for athletes of all levels, the Boston Marathon is a great opportunity for runners all over the country to get some exercise and test their abilities.
About 39% of customers say they have tried a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising, but email marketing can also be effective in improving sales — that is, if the emails don’t accidentally reference a recent national tragedy.
“Adidas is going to have to fire whoever was in charge of writing this e-mail,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Adidas, you may want to rethink the subject line,” wrote Mike Denison, artist and Twitter personality.
According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, you should replace your shoes every 350 to 400 miles, or about every six months, and that’s exactly what Adidas was urging its customers to do — “grab new gear.” Instead, the email was widely spread across social media, and users were quick to express their outrage.
“Coming in hot with the absolute worst email subject of all time. Should be ashamed,” wrote another Twitter user.
No word yet on the number of sales Adidas made after sending that insensitive email, but chances are they’d fare better upon the addition of a marketing editor.