Sweden’s beloved (and hated) H&M got caught doing the doo doo in New York.
To be honest, Wal-Mart got caught too…but they had a spokesperson saying “Strange, I will HAVE to investigate this” or something of the sort… H&M made the journalist call someone else, that then didn’t answer…and OH-OH, who got to be the bad boy in this?!
The HUGE problem I see is actually not that it happened! The ENORMOUS problem is that H&M has a Corporate Responsibility executive employed(!!) And that they have only been able to say this on their Facebook Fanpage:
H&M is committed to taking responsibility for how our operations affect both people and the environment. Our policy is to donate any damaged usable garments to charity. We’re currently investigating an incident in a NY store that is not representative of our policy. We will follow with more information as soon as we are ab…le. H&M’s US sales operation donates thousands of garments each year through Gifts In Kind Int’l.
You probably won’t be able to find it – it took me 4 clicks 12 hours after the statement. My first reaction was “damaged”?!! – this clothes weren’t damaged before you slashed them!
So WHAT is the issue?! Well, totally disregarding the cruel and NON-responsible way this H&M store handled old and unsellable items – H&M has had all the chances to make amends!
Please just say, “This is appalling, we will certainly go to the bottom of this!” and then publish your corporate responsibility strategy (One you MUST have if you aren’t make “corporate responsibility” into fashion as well…)
Everyone can make mistakes, and a world-wide company will most definitely make them. But, you MUST find a way to handle PR in social media! Hint: it’s not via your PR agency… Social media is about participation, not control!
——- update 11-01-10 —–
See this in the light of a bigger issue at SEO & Social media by Jesper Åström – H&M’s twittering has bothered me for some time, since they seem to think it’s just another “spray&pray channel”, but maybe they’re just suffering from the issues raised by Jesper. Maybe they should even get Jesper & Honesty to help them out!