Let this be a lesson to brands to double, triple, and quadruple check communications before sending them out…
Ulta Beauty was forced to issue an apology on Monday after sending out a poorly-worded email that inadvertently referenced Kate Spade’s suicide. As you may know, the esteemed designer tragically passed away in 2018 after hanging herself in her Park Avenue apartment in New York City.
Unbelievably, the promotional email Ulta sent out on Sunday, May 1 contained the headline:
“Come hang with Kate Spade and get $15 off.”
ULTA is wrong for this…. Kate Spade literally died from hanging herself… ???? pic.twitter.com/q6RS4W5Y21
— J (@j3477217982) May 2, 2022
The message was met with swift outrage on Twitter, where some customers complained:
“Whoever wrote the incredibly crass email headline at Ulta for the Kate Spade event yesterday also managed to do it on the first day of Mental Health Awareness Month. An ignominious start by demonstrating the carelessness people tend to have around this topic.”
“Insensitive & completely tone deaf. Email from @ultabeauty sent to customers on May 1 which also marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness month. Kate Spade suffered from this horrible illness & took her own life. @ultabeauty lack of awareness is appalling.”
“@ultabeauty The ad was extremely insensitive. There’s no way that the entire marketing and executive team did not realize the trauma this ad would cause to Kate Spade’s loved ones and fans. Do better. #suicideawareness #stopthestigma #katespade”
On Monday, the company sent out a follow-up email apologizing for the insensitive ad. They wrote:
“In an email we recently sent featuring the kate spade new york brand fragrances, a very insensitive choice of words was used and for that we are very sorry. We have the utmost respect for the kate spade brand and the joy it brings to the beauty and fashion industries. At Ulta Beauty, our teams are human, and this was truly an error with no intent to do harm.”
The email went on:
“We’re keenly aware that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is a very serious and important issue in this country, and not something we would ever take lightly. We are working internally to ensure something like this never happens again. To the Spade family and to our kate spade brand partners, we’re deeply sorry — and to our guests, we apologize for this upsetting mistake. Simply put, this is below our standards.”
Yikes. That is an absolutely awful and triggering mistake to make. This apology was urgently necessary, and we really hope that these marketing teams are more thorough and careful with their communications in the future.
[Image via CBS/WSJ/YouTube]