Inconsistent Marketing

2 Oct

This is super funny. I popped into Forever 21 today. Now, I normally don’t shop there because I don’t like going to the mall. And Forever 21 is located in the mall. Unless you think I’m gonna drag myself to the Forever 21 downtown. (Hint: I’m not).

I made an interesting discovery at the bottom of my sunshine yellow shopping bag. It simply said, “John 3:16.” That’s right, a bible verse. In case you’re wondering, John 3:16 refers to, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That’s right, I saved you a Google trip.


See, there it is!

I was confused. Why would they print that onto their bags? The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Chang are Evangelical Christians and big supporters of Christian missionaries. Are they unaware of the kind of merchandise they’re selling? Or who their customers even are? Needless to say, most people wouldn’t see it, anyways. It was the bottom of the bag.

I did some research, only to discover that this has been going on for a while. Oh, and I’m probably the last to find out. The article, hilariously titled “What would Jesus say about that backless minidress?” gets to the bottom of the situation (not just the bag).

I found a few things downright hilarious in this article.

Asked about the inscription, a manager at the sprawling Union Square store waved her hand. “Oh   that’s just advertising,” she explained…But the discreet placement — and the religious content — of the phrase could be a smart advertising move, according to Pamela Klein at Parsons The New School for Design.

Advertising, you say? Granted, it’s a hidden message. So, you’re less likely to be offended by it, because it’s not in your face. And, you’re more likely to pay attention (i.e. researching its meaning) to it. So yes, it could be perfectly acceptable to say that they effectively advertised faith on that bag.

This contradicts their brand. Hugely. Have you ever been to Forever 21? No? Let me give you a tour.


I don’t know where this is, but they all look the same.

Here we are. Generic Forever 21 store at the mall. There are tons of clothes here. TONS. They all seem to be organized by room. I still can’t figure out what the categories are. But I know to actively avoid the room with “club” clothes. That’s just me.

Things you’ll notice:

  • Stretchy black minidress
  • Rebellious T-Shirt with cheeky slogan (i.e. “Y for Yummy”)
  • Flashy neon pieces
  • Ripped jeans
  • Gaudy sparkly monster heels

These are just from the top of my head. You probably already figured out who Forever 21 caters to. That’s right. Trendy (perhaps rebelliously so) teenagers and young adults. And people who enjoy the club scene.


Is this a shirt or a dress?

Let’s take another look at what Klein said.

But the discreet placement — and the religious content — of the phrase could be a smart advertising move, according to Pamela Klein at Parsons The New School for Design.

How is that smart advertising? If anything, it exposes Forever 21 and its management as hypocritical. Especially since some of their merchandise can be described as ‘skanky weekend clothing.’ I find it bizarre to sell merchandise that is often too tight, short, or low-cut, and then slap on a bible verse on the bag I take it home in. Because a sheer fishnet dress seems like the perfect ensemble for bible study. FYI that’s not what I bought 🙂

What do you think of the inscription?


2 Responses to “Inconsistent Marketing”

  1. lovethosenails October 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    I noticed this not too long ago too! I definitely thought it was a little odd. I just don’t see Forever 21 as a Christian clothing store, I guess :P.

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