It seems that Hollister is going with the dual antagonize/insult technique to attract customers to its brand new store in Yeouido, South Korea — according to reports of the store's star-crossed opening, the Hollister lifeguard model brigade was on hand to flip-off prospective patrons and, in one particularly egregious fit of stupidity, make "squinty eyes" at photographers.
Hollister brought the models in for a marketing event that lasted from August 30 to September 2, during which brief span of time the models managed to piss off just about everyone who came into direct or social media contact with them. Lee Hyung-Ju of English Korean news site koreaBANG wrote that the models achieved feats of impossibly epic rudeness:
Images of models making 'squinty eyes' faces, flipping their middle finger to photographers, and mocking Asian pronunciation of English appeared on their Twitter accounts.
The models left behind a slug's trail of racist pictures and tweets for Korean customers to step in and collectively mutter, "Fucking gross." One model took a picture of himself standing in front of Gyeongbokkung Palace, squinting his eyes and proffering a peace sign. When someone commented on how many Asians had liked the photo, the model answered, "Hahahaha they ruhhvvvv itttt!" Yet another model inexplicably decided that what the crowd around the Yeouido store really needed was a brazen middle finger, which he happily supplied much to the consternation and outright anger of local journalists. Many Korean customers have started calling for boycotts, which got Hollister's attention pretty quickly — the company issued an apology that ends with, "In summary, the company terminated the couple of associates involved."
Though it's pretty clear that Hollister is going to stick with its "sorry you guys are so sore about this" half-apology, there's really no way to plan contingencies for rogue models who decided that guerilla marketing means grossly insulting an entire market of potential new customers. It's people like this that are rapidly assuring all employers that the sooner they can rely exclusively on robots for everything, the better.