The clothing company, Fashion Nova, was found guilty of this on March 16 as they began to send out a promotion via text message to those who subscribe to the brand’s text updates. The text stated, “When That Stimulus Deposit Hits, Save Up To 80% Off Sitewide.” Since this text went out, Fashion Nova has been receiving backlash from those who received the text. On Twitter, people are posting screenshots of the text and stating that it was extremely tone-deaf because the checks are supposed to be spent on essential products. The Insider reposted a tweet from Youtuber Jessi Smiles stating, “All we get for the foreseeable future is $1200 so go away Fashion Nova I have groceries to buy,” and another tweet from Twitter user Mary Emilia stating, “Fashion Nova is so wrong for this, the stimulus isn’t for shopping it’s for people who need it during such hard times, this is so ignorant.”
As of now, Fashion Nova is trying to make up for this insensitive advertisement by getting involved in a give-back campaign for the pandemic. They started the Fashion Nova Cares with Cardi B initiative, in collaboration with rapper Cardi B, Fashion Nova is to donate $1 million. With that, $1000 will be given away to a person in need who is having trouble paying for essential things such as, food, bills or medical-related services an hour as a way to atone for their tasteless marketing promotion from earlier that week.
In addition to Fashion Nova, Reese Witherspoon’s clothing and accessory brand, Draper James, is also receiving backlash for one of their recent marketing campaigns. Draper James advertised a “COVID-19 Giveaway” where they intended to thank teachers for their efforts during the pandemic. They intended to give away free dresses to every teacher that made a request for one. However, they received thousands of requests and only had 250 total dresses to give away.
Many of the teachers that entered the giveaway were left frustrated after the fact when the giveaway was turned into a raffle because of the lack of product. This advertising tactic was most likely a way to acquire good PR for the company or to stay relevant with current events. However, it was not taken well by the public as many thought it was insensitive. It has also caused a group of women who disagreed with the COVID- 19 advertisements to allege in a class-action lawsuit against the company.
With these companies using COVID-19 as a gimmick to promote their products and it is not surprising that people are going to find these advertisements upsetting.COVID-19 in general is a touchy subject for many people which can cause these promotions to come off more insensitive and ignorant than well-wishing.
According to the Corporate Finance Institute, the point of the stimulus checks is to give tax-paying consumers funds to spend to boost the economy. So while these clothing companies and their products are not deemed essential items, they are still a part of the economy. If a consumer decides to spend their stimulus check on clothes, they are still using their check for what it was intended, to stimulate the economy.