Adidas’ social media crisis of 2017

Last week, we talked about email marketing and discussed what the future of email marketing will be. Email marketing can bring you success. But it can also ruin you if you are not serious and careful. Do you want to know more details? OK. This week let’s talk about an example of social media crisis which was caused by email marketing.

We all know that this Sunday (Nov 5th), the 2017 New York City Marathon will take place. Our example is also a story about marathon.

What happened?

On April 18, 2017, the second day of 2017 Boston Marathon, some finishers of Monday’s race received a congratulatory email from Adidas, the sponsor for the 121st annual race. The subject line of this email was “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” which immediately reminded people of the sad memories of 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.


This email arose heated discussion on social media. Many people expressed their frustration with the company’s word choice, with one Twitter user calling it “the absolute worst email subject line of all time.”

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People also showed their dissatisfactions towards the employee who wrote this email.

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Just like one twitter user said, Adidas messed up royally. This whole email incident turned to be a social media crisis.

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How did Adidas respond to it?

Adidas quickly issued an apology for their email subject line which was posted on their social media accounts at afternoon of that day.

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They said that they are incredibly sorry. And they describe the subject line they sent Tuesday as “insensitive”. They also showed their respectful attitudes towards Boston Marathon: “The Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we’re reminded the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event.”

Have to say that this apology is immediate and heartfelt. We can see the time of the twitter was 12:54 pm on 18 April 2017. So, it was only about 3 to 4 hours after people received the email. This reaction is quick and immediate. Their recognized their mistake and apologized. I think this was a good reaction because it prevented the whole incident from becoming worse.

My opinion towards this social crisis

Although Adidas reacted quickly and solved this social media crisis in a short time, this incident could have been avoided if their email marketing team were careful and double checked the contents before they sent the emails. This kind of mistake was too simple and careless. The company ought not to have this kind of mistake.

Hope Adidas can learn a lesson from this incident.

In my opinion, PR department is the most responsible one to handle these sorts of crisis. They need to react immediately after the crisis happening. And they need to give the best and quickest solutions to keep the company’s reputation. But in this case, the mistake was made by marketing department. So, I think it’s more important to avoid this kind of crisis from the root rather than just give apology after things happening. It would be better if there’re no social media crisis at the beginning.

Do you agree with me?













1 thought on “Adidas’ social media crisis of 2017

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