Under Armour Inc. announced on Saturday that it will stop selling a T-shirt model for bearing a close resemblance the Marine Corps War Memorial that many people found offensive. The company received countless complaints arguing the image on the shirt offended the memory of the US soldiers who fought and died at Iwo Jima.
The product at issue was the “Band of Ballers” basketball T-shirt, who depicted a group of basketball players raising a basketball hoop in a similar manner to how US marines were raising the American flag in the Iwo Jima scene. The company quickly apologized, saying it was never in its intention to offend any of the brave soldiers who fought in World War II against the Japanese.
“We deeply regret and apologize that a T-shirt that was not reflective of our values in honoring and supporting our country’s heroes went on sale,” Under Armour said in the statement. “We have taken immediate action to remove it from retail and will take great measures to ensure this does not happen again.”
The Baltimore-based company declined to reveal the number of shirts that have already been sold, but insisted that supporting those who serve in the army is an integral part of its policy. Under Armour has worked with several veterans and military organizations throughout the years, either directly or in partnerships, and the gaffe is rather uncharacteristic for the clothing-line.
The interesting fact behind the whole story is that Under Armour decided to pull back “Band of Ballers” mostly after a witnessing the negative reception the T-shirt got on social platforms. The impact of social media on the marketing strategies of giant brands has been increasing lately, as Under Armour is only the latest addition on a list that seems to be growing.
Nike Inc., for instance, had to apologize last week after offering a 30 percent discount on some of its products to police officers. The decision proved to be uninspired, as the law enforcement was very unpopular at the time after recent scandals revealed police mistreatment towards black people.
Further behind, Urban Outfitters Inc. apologized for selling a Kent State sweatshirt apparently stained in blood, as critics argued it was inspired by the 1970 shootings that took place at the school. Bud Light also gave up on a recent media campaign that many people believed it promoted rape, due to its uninspired “Up for Whatever” motto.
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