Cotton On provoked negative media coverage for the colourful language used on its Christmas cards back in 2010. The retail clothing chain was in hot water over a range of Christmas cards featuring swearwords. The cards, which feature slogans including “Merry F*%$# Christmas.” Wrapping paper emblazoned with similar slogans is also available.
Religious leaders have described the cards as “exceptionally gross and offensive”, but Cotton On’s buying and production manager has defended the cards, labelling them a bestseller. “The cards aren’t derogatory, they don’t promote violence or ill-feeling, and they’re targeted at younger customers who have a different attitude.”
Cotton On are targeting a different audience as they saw a gap in the market and a reflection of today’s society. Cotton On has a history of being a bit controversial with its products. When it comes to stunt marketing such as the Christmas card special by Cotton On, such stunts need to align with brand strategy and of course preparation for possible backlash.
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