Lands’ End, the country’s official uniform supplier of unoffensive clothing, is finding itself steeped in controversy.
On Tuesday, the purveyor of fleece half-zips and customized totes waded into publisher territory, posting an interview on its e-catalog with feminist activist Gloria Steinem to kick off its “Legends Series,” a series of articles on “individuals who have made a difference in both their respective industries and the world at large.”
The brand is now apologizing for the interview after it sent hundreds of customers into a fit of rage for offending their conservative ideals. Although the interview didn’t mention abortion, instead focusing on Steinem’s style, people complained on Lands’ End Facebook page because they were offended by Steinem’s pro-choice views, lashing the brand as “anti-child.”
“How could you interview Gloria Steinem? She has done so much damage to the dignity of being a wife and a mother. How could Gloria say in the article that “each person is a unique miracle” and still be pro-abortion?,” wrote a woman on its Facebook page, exhibiting the common refrain from conservative customers.
With the reaction against Land’s End swift and brutal (even a Catholic school in Missouri vowed to drop it as its uniform provider, which is a lucrative part of its business), the brand issued an apology on Facebook:
Some customers were troubled and concerned that we featured an interview with Gloria Steinem in a recent catalog. Lands’ End is committed to providing our loyal customers and their families with stylish, affordable, well-made clothing. We greatly respect and appreciate the passion people have for our brand. It was never our intention to raise a divisive political or religious issue, so when some of our customers saw the recent promotion that way, we heard them. We sincerely apologize for any offense.
That message triggered a response from pro-choice customers lashing the company for caving to pro-life people. “To pull an ad with an icon like Gloria Steinem? Why? Simply put, you are cowards. I will NEVER shop at Land’s End again,” read a top-voted comment.
Data from Brandwatch measured a 71 percent negative sentiment rate for the two backlashes.
First Lands’ End was met with people who did not approve of the Gloria Steinem interview.
“After Lands’ End decided to delete the interview it was met with the social outrage of people who thought they should standby their story,” analyst Kellan Terry told Digiday. “The phrase ‘shame on you’ appears frequently within these mentions.”
The controversy shows how risky the job is for newly installed CEO Federica Marchionni, who conducted the interview, to shake up the 53-year-old brand. “I don’t want to change what is working,” she told Bloomberg about her push to make the brand younger, “just tweak whatever is needed to be tweaked.”
Tweaking, turns out, is not something its conservative fan base likes.
Why a DTC jewelry company is placing its bets on organic growth via TikTok
As TikTok continues to grow in popularity, a jewelry startup is hoping to capitalize on its organic growth.
‘Harder to dispute’: Ebiquity CEO on why advertisers are slowing spending in the Google-Facebook duopoly
It’s deja vu all over again with this sort of rhetoric. This time, though, it's not just big brands that are apprehensive about putting more dollars into Google or Facebook. It's the smaller ones -- the ones that account for the bulk of cash spent on those ads.
Why a sports betting company will brand the new train line to MetLife Stadium
As part of this effort, a variety of print and digital assets have been developed, as well as the official rebranding of all of the NJ Transit system's signage and advertising to accommodate the new rail line. A clear understanding of the financial agreement was not provided.
SponsoredHow FIFA World Cup fans engage is changing and brands are paying attention
Emily Barfuss, Chief Marketing Officer, Tremor International At the root of every sport are two key characters: the athlete and the fan. The athletes may be the stars of the show, but without fans — without their energy, fervor, tangible support and wallets — sports matches and championships would all be very different games. From […]
How Squarespace is marketing more directly to the creator economy
With new features and ads, Squarespace is the latest tech company to market more directly to creators
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: With pressure mounting on Q4, some marketers are planning to roll out holiday sales early
Marketers are rolling out holiday marketing and sales early as economic uncertainty persists and pressure builds for the fourth quarter.