Adidas’ Arsenal shirt launch backfires in offensive tweet storm

July 3 – Adidas UK were left hugely embarrassed when a social media gambit launching the new Arsenal kit backfired, leading to shirts being tweeted with racist and offensive slogans on the back.

The PR disaster followed the manufacturers’ idea to allow anyone to have their Twitter username written on the back of the shirt, simply by liking a tweet, but that gambit with the hashtag DareToCreate was quickly hijacked by online users with sinister motives. Their names ranged from Hitler to Madeleine McCann. Others referenced the Hillsborough disaster or targeted the black and Jewish communities.

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.

“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,” said an Adidas spokesman. “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.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1571335313labto1571335313ofdlr1571335313owedi1571335313sni@o1571335313fni1571335313