It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but an email sent to runners following this year's Boston Marathon did not go over well.
The first mistake was the subject line: "Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon."
For those who remember four short years ago, the Boston Marathon was the target of a bombing. Three people were killed, 260 or so injured, and two of the survivors from that fateful race actually ran this year's Marathon.
So "survived" was not the best choice of words.
But wait, it gets worse!
When runners opened their email, it said "You're Boston Strong, What's Next?" This is where you realize that whoever put the email together probably just looked online to see some of the key phrases around the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, "Boston Strong" was the hashtag #BostonStrong used to show the city's resiliency following the attack. So two big mistakes, one email.
Adidas has, of course, apologized.
And it was just a mistake.
We're in the same business -- not apparel, but communication -- and it's impossible for every email to be perfect. I'll never forget when we sent out an email reminding people could have their kids' pictures taken "with Satan.".... Oops, that was supposed to be Santa (spellchecker!). But it's a good idea to have multiple sets of eyes on communications with the public whenever possible. And to have a good apology ready, just in case.