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Mon Apr 10 2017 22:03:45

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

By: Ina Steiner

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Someone in the marketing department at online retailer ThredUp tried to have a little fun in an email to customers over the weekend, but crossed the line as far as some customers were concerned when it used the subject line: "Fuq overpriced handbags."

Hours later, the company sent a follow-up email apologizing for the missive:

Hello,
I wanted to apologize to you directly for an email you may have received from us this morning.

The subject line of the email was in poor taste and does not reflect how we talk to our customers or anyone for that matter.

We value each and every one of you hugely. We strive to bring you great deals everyday and make your life a little brighter. This morning's email missed the mark by a mile. I am sorry.

The send was stopped as quickly as possible, once the mistake was identified. And we are improving the process by which our emails are approved.

If you received the email, we hope you can accept our sincere apologies.

We know better, and we will do better for you in the future.

Anthony

Anthony Marino
Chief Marketing Officer

After a reader sent us the emails, we checked to see the fallout on social media. 

"Dear ThredUp, it's not cute when you "curse" in your subject line. Have some class, please. Thanks," an offended recipient wrote on Twitter. 

"Received this email today. Do not think the subject line is very appropriate. Shame on you, ThredUp," another posted on Facebook.

But it was clear that not everyone had taken offense - it might have helped that the original email included a 40% off coupon code.

"thredUP just so you know... that subject line was hilarious and it made me open the email. (So mission accomplished, right???)," tweeted one customer.

Several users said they hadn't noticed the first email, but the apology email got them to look at it. "thredUP if the apology email was to get me to go back for the original email and browse handbags- it worked. Nice marketing."

Another customer used some humor to respond, tweeting about the incident and writing, "thanks for the apology, shtuff happens."

And one user said it was refreshing that the company responded to concerns. "@thredUP Please tell Anthony Marino how much I appreciate his apology. Others could learn from his example of saying sorry!"

What do you think, was ThredUp's use of the word "fuq" offensive - and is it ever acceptable to use in a marketing email? Is it worth the risk of offending people to try to get people's attention?




Comments (15) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Apr 10 23:34:23 2017

If I had received the e-mail I wouldn't have been upset. There are too many snowflakes nowadays who get offended by everything.  

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 11 00:10:40 2017

Say what you want, since it comes down to knowing your audience. I'm sure there are some audiences like Hustler magazine readers that wouldn't have been offended.

It's ignorant and lazy and representative of the nouveau casual tone. I'm not offended by a slang swear word, I'm offended by the lack of respect for the reader that is projected by the language.  

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 11 01:20:00 2017

Oh come on. People are too easily offended. If it isn't funny then don't laugh but there is absolutely no need to cry about it.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 11 09:58:18 2017

since fleecebay likes to copy, they will probably start sending out all the messages saying FUQ sellers.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 11 11:49:30 2017

Every day in every way Ebay is always saying FUQ sellers!

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Apr 11 18:59:30 2017

"Neuveau casual tone."  That's good.  So is lazy, because that's accurate.

Offensive isn't the real argument, because that's subjective in the end.

But it seems to me that if one can't expend the effort to be civil in something as basic as a marketing message representing their brand, it calls to question where else in the marketing 'chain' they will lazilly default to 'neuveau casual'.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Apr 11 21:38:22 2017

Yur s'posed to spell it "FQ".....
We don't do it any more, so spelling it's the thing now....

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: steveylang This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 12 17:11:14 2017

I think it's funny, but no way in a million years would I send a mass marketing email with that title.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 12 20:28:18 2017

What seller chick said...I've heard the word before ;) but it has no place is a mass-marketing email.  Very unprofessional.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Apr 13 00:52:12 2017

This is the trajectory millennials are taking us on. Give it a few more years and 'fuq' will be mainstream.  

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 13 01:29:42 2017

Judging  from  the number of times I hear  the word--and  it;s not like I don;t  use it in certain  circumstances!---I think it IS pretty mainstream.  I DID "call out"  a  young woman at the next dinner table to us a week  ago for overly loud  use of that and other words on her phone WHILE THERE WERE YOUNG KIDS PRESENT AT ANOTHER TABLE NEAR US.  the woman got  pissed  with me;  but her male companion  did say something to her and she toned it  down.  She was  about 5 feet from a door where she could have gone and talked in but apparently now EVERY cell convo  is  open to the public.    

I  donpt want to sound "dated":  but  there is a time and a place  and--a restaurant  with young  kids (and not fast  food!)  is NOT the place.  I am not sure what  the general tenor of ThredUp is  so I can't  say if it fits with  their  usual  sort of titles.

In the end  it's just  another collection of  sounds that WE have given  power over us.  

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Apr 13 03:46:48 2017

Not ever having seen that word spelled that way (am I right in thinking this was just shorthand for the 4 letter word?), I had to go to the url to even know what the site sold. I think it was entirely inappropriate. There is a time and a place for everything and in a public marketing email using swear words isn't appropriate. I realize that I am old fashioned and don't say those words myself, but it just comes down to being professional which that subject line wasn't.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Thu Apr 13 11:52:16 2017

There will always be tasteless advertising - I am indeed offended by the 15 pre-recorded sales messages I get on my phone every day - but this - who the ''fug'' cares? No time to get offended as I would have deleted the email in 2-3 seconds.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: Ladmo This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Apr 13 14:02:13 2017

OMG! Should we stop selling French Connection United Kingdom fragrances? Fcuk! I have a United Flight to catch.

Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word   Online Retailer Apologizes for Slang Swear Word

by: The Not So New Guy This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 18 21:15:50 2017

You call them swear words, I call them sentence enhancers. lol



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