With the return of Olivia Pope and team, it’s time to talk about scandals! We’re talking, tweeting the wrong hashtag.  We’re talking insensitive jokes from someone who clearly didn’t ask themselves: “too soon?”  We’re talking about that blood-stained sweatshirt! But sometimes we wonder, are such mindless acts really accidents waiting to be cleaned up?

Stunts like these get viewers (and consumers) talking about the involved parties; there’s no question about that.  Do you really want to become popular by playing with fire, though?  To a small audience, edgy and different is attractive!  Is that small audience your target audience?  If so, keep on lighting matches!  Just keep in mind that if your ideas are too unique, they may not be received well by the majority.

Take Urban Outfitter, for example.  They’ve been known as hip, trendy, and shocking!  In 2010, there was the “eat less” t-shirt that led One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush to boycott the store after spreading the word of their pro-anorexia message.  There was the color “Obama/Black” in the same year.  Last week, the Philadelphia-based brand put one blood-stained Kent University vintage sweatshirt on the market for $129.  Each incident (and there are many more) was news, and Urban Outfitter just held their hands up and shrugged.

Despite people replying “I’m never shopping there again,” Urban Outfitters Inc, recently announced record quarterly sales of $811 million, 7% over the same quarter last year. Even though it’s been more than 24 hours and people are still talking about the latest scandal, UO won’t be calling Olivia Pope anytime soon.

The majority of commenting Facebook users are sharing their disgust with the company, while a very few admit to wanting the sweatshirt for themselves. By taking a peek at profile pages, the minority are often concluded to be teenagers, a younger, under-educated audience, or at least think like them.

Remember your teenage years?  Shock factor was who we wanted to be!  We wanted to wear our angst on our sleeve, no matter what that angst was made of!  We wanted to be different, and unique, and edgy!  That doesn’t change through the generations!

So it would seem, despite “bad press,” Urban Outfitters knows exactly what they’re doing!  They’re catering to their audience and occasionally gracing us with their presence in the headlines while weeding out those who don’t agree. The numbers don’t lie!

Do you know how to reach your target audience?!  Don’t know if you’re doing it right?  You know where to find us!