Los Angeles clothier American Apparel is just the latest retailer extending a “Sandy Sale” for those caught in the path of the storm’s relentless march through the East Coast.
The clothing maker sent out an email Monday night offering a 20% site-wide discount for 36 hours to shoppers in nine states hardest hit by Sandy, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
“In case you’re bored during the storm,” the ad says. “Just Enter SANDYSALE at Checkout.”
The sale drew swift condemnation on Twitter, where many criticized the company for capitalizing on a storm that has wreaked havoc and killed at least 38 people in seven states.
“Really @americanapparel? Sandy Sale email blast?” David Honig tweeted. “The lowest of low.”
“Hey @americanapparel people have died and others are in need,” Christine Lu wrote. “Shut up about your #Sandy sale.”
Others predicted the clothing maker would soon be dealing with the fallout of their faux pas.
"@americanapparel will soon be hiring a new marketing director,” Buzz Bishop tweeted. “Yes, they just email blasted a ‘Hurricane Sandy Sale.’”
But American Apparel isn’t alone in offering Sandy specials. Most deals involve free shipping, presumably to grab all those shoppers weathering the storm from inside their homes.
Urban Outfitters is offering free shipping on all orders with the rather apt discount code “ALLSOGGY.” Steven Alan is also running a free shipping promotion with code word “SANDYFREESHIP.” Customers can get 15% off orders over $100 at sport retailer Owner Operator by entering the discount code “FRANKENSTORM.”
The Twittersphere was not pleased with any of it.
“Trying to make a SALE off of a terrible disaster is just terrible,” tweeted someone who goes by the handle I Heart Heels. “Stop it with your cutesy puns, brands. #notcute”
Such storm-related sales are just the latest from companies mixing current events into marketing, sometimes with cringe-inducing results.
A KitchenAid tweet this month about President Obama’s deceased grandmother sparked fury on social media and a series of apologies from the home appliance giant. After the Aurora shootings, retailer CelebBoutique tweeted that its Kim Kardashian-inspired Aurora dress was behind the term’s popularity on Twitter and included a link to the $157 frock.
Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi