Why The Adidas Marathon Email Flub Is A Non-Story

By Rami Abou-Sabe

Pepsi, United, and now Adidas.

Add the German shoemaker to the growing list of large corporations battling a major PR screw-up this month.

RELATED: Photos From The 2017 Boston Marathon

In an effort to congratulate athletes on the recently completed Boston Marathon, Adidas pushed out a poorly-worded email Tuesday afternoon (Apr. 18). Sent to Adidas Running subscribers, the subject of the email reads, “Congrats. You survived the Boston Marathon!”

Yikes.

Only the fourth Boston Marathon since the bombings, the wounds of April 15, 2013, are understandably still fresh. But do we really need all the faux-anger and holier-than-though flag waving this time around?

The story has already made the rounds to the Boston Globe, USA Today, and the Huffington Post with headlines like “Adidas Ripped for Email…” and “Adidas Facing Backlash for Tone Deaf Email…”

The marketing associate responsible for the subject line snafu has surely been reprimanded by the company for poor taste and lack of forethought. But what else are they guilty of? Using an incredibly common congratulatory phrase after a challenging athletic feat?

The 2013 marathon bombings were a tragedy, undoubtedly, but Boston bounced back and we’re a stronger city because of that fateful day. Saying a runner “survived” the 26.2-mile foot race should not be offensive. Instead, we should be celebrating – celebrating our resiliency, our spirit, and our commitment to the marathon tradition.

We’ve bounced back with such vigor that lowly Adidas marketers don’t think twice when they write, “You survived the Boston Marathon!” in an email blast.

Clearly, the author did not make a connection between the wording and the 2013 bombings. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. Instead of being remembered as the city that endured the Boston Bombings, we’re the city that hosts the incredibly successful Boston Marathon every year, and that’s something to be proud of.

Of all the ridiculous internet stories that we can rally around to loft out collective pitchforks, how about we leave Adidas, the official sponsor of the Boston Marathon, alone?

We’re not fragile, and don’t need to be handled-with-care. We’re Boston Strong.

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