During the annual Boston Marathon in 2013, two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing 3 people and 260 others injured. This incident caused grief and sadness and became a painful memory. Imagine if someone uses this sad event in his Marketing campaign, what will happen?

Adidas’ Marathon Email Crisis

After the 2017 Boston Marathon, which is only three years after the bombing, the participants received a congratulatory email from Adidas, who is the sponsor of the marathon. Normally a congratulatory email is considered a kind gesture, however, this email was the cause of a major backlash and a crisis. Why did this kind gesture turn into a crisis?

For their Email Marketing, Adidas sent an email with a subject line, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Adidas may have had a good intention. They didn’t mean anything bad, because the Boston Marathon is considered difficult due to the hills, there are no trees to block wind, and it’s very humid.

However, people understood it negatively, people were questioning, if Adidas didn’t realize the connotations of the message, and if the superior managers didn’t review the subject line before sending the email.

Previously, we said that Email Marketing is not used treasure. It’s an impactful way to connect with customers and prospects. Email Marketing is the most cost effective form of marketing, because it’s not expensive at all, and convert more. But with what happened to Adidas, we can understand that Email Marketing can also ruin you if you are not careful.

For Adidas’ case, several Twitter users expressed their disapproval and dissatisfaction on social media, calling Adidas as ignorants. And soon the screenshots of the emails went viral.

Normally companies prefer to delay speaking out about a crisis or issuing an apology, which is not well-received usually, but Adidas released an immediate heartfelt apology, it was only 3 or 4 hours after people received the email. They recognized their mistake and apologized. Sometimes an apology is not enough, but Adidas was honest about its mistake, and their statement was sympathetic and genuine. Their early apology prevented the incident from becoming worse and transforming into a real crisis.


Adidas Apologizes For Boston Marathon Email
Adidas Apologizes For Boston Marathon Email

A renowned company like Adidas shouldn’t make these mistakes. This kind of mistake could be avoided, by being careful and double-checking the content before sending the emails.

How to Avoid a Social Media Crisis?

To avoid Social Media Crises, there are few things to follow:

  • Avoid talking About Politics, Race, Religion, or catastrophes.
  • Be Prepared for a Social Media Crisis
  • Dealing with Social Media Negative Feedback: Never delete negative Comments and Mentions.
  • Respond to Criticism Professionally
  • Featuring violence on your profile.
  • Avoid telling Lies About Your Products or Services
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