The web is abuzz this week about a French clothing retailer whose children’s catalog contained a photo of four cute tow-headed tykes on a beach. Far in the background, barely noticeable quite frankly, is the image of what appears to be a nude man wading in the ocean.
The company, La Redoute, has issued strenuous public apologies now that the photo is viral, acknowledging that the inclusion of a nude man was not intentional. Is this a PR nightmare?
Not really. The company has managed the situation as well as can be expected and has removed the photo from its web site.
Whether its international consumer base will forgive and continue to buy the company’s products depends largely on how they felt about the brand in the first place. If La Redoute is a destination for quality, affordable clothing and good customer service, it needn’t worry. Consumers have short memories and will forgive, maybe even feel sorry, for a brand it loves. They may even feel sorry for La Redoute and its current travails.
After all, many larger companies have committed greater offenses to the public health and well being with scarcely an apology or even sincere remorse. We’ll decline to name them here but we’re confident you can think of a few.