Adidas UK has come under fire after a social media gambit backfired spectacularly, leading to the company tweeting out pictures of its shirts with racist and offensive slogans on the back.
The error came as Adidas launched a social media campaign, #DareToCreate, in conjunction with its release of the new Arsenal home kit.
People were encouraged to share a tweet advertising the brand using the hashtag, which automatically created an image of the new Arsenal strip emblazoned with the Twitter handle of the account.
The image, along with the message “This is home. Welcome to the squad”, and an encouragement to buy the strip, was then tweeted out by the official @AdidasUK account.
However, the promotional campaign was hijacked by people with offensive or insensitive Twitter handles, including @GasAllJewss, @MadelineMcCann, and @96wasnotenough.
The images of the offensive handles on Arsenal shirts were retweeted widely.
The offensive tweets were posted from the @AdidasUK account late on Monday night and were still visible on Twitter through the early hours of the morning, but have since been removed.
A spokesperson for Adidas said: “As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal we have been made aware of the abuse of a Twitter personalisation mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey. Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this we have immediately turned off the functionality and the Twitter team will be investigating.”
Arsenal football club said: “We totally condemn the use of language of this nature, which has no place in our game or society.”
“We work hard as a club to encourage diversity and inclusion through our Arsenal for Everyone programme, launched in 2008 as a celebration of the diversity of the Arsenal family.
“Through a number of initiatives undertaken in the community, inside Emirates Stadium and throughout the club, Arsenal strives to ensure that everyone associated with the club feels an equal sense of belonging.”
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