If you’re going to get into the licensed sports apparel business, the first rule should probably be that you know a little something about your targeted audience. Not doing so resulted in retailer Victoria’s Secret over the weekend, as its VS Pink Collegiate Collection arm was forced to pull a shirt it had rolled out to Michigan State University (home of the soon to be completed, Zaha Hadid-designed Broad Museum, by the way). Seemingly innocent and general enough, the shirt played off the school’s mascot, reading “Spartans: Hail to the Victors!” which seems rah-rah enough. Only problem is that “Hail to the Victors” is the fight song of MSU’s rivals, the University of Michigan. After being caught by a CNBC reporter who tweeted, “The folks Victoria’s Secret have made a horrible Michigan error,” the shirts were immediately pulled. While some have speculated that it was perhaps a “clever joke” perpetrated by the company, we can’t think of a world in which that makes any sense (why would the Ohio-based company suddenly have it out for MSU?). Instead, it just seems like a design oversight wherein the company wanted to do the least possible due diligence before going to press.
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