The Urban Outfitters NPR Custom T-Shirt: A Story of Irony

NPR T-ShirtThe retail brand Urban Outfitters, popular among representatives of the so-called “hipster” culture for its sometimes satirical merchandise, including graphic T-shirts such as one printed with the classic American Uncle Sam portrait and “I Want You” propaganda message with the addition of “To Buy Me a Drink,” has a new custom T-shirt in its catalog displaying a different sort of mockery.

Currently, UO is selling a custom T-shirt printed with the logo of National Public Radio, the media organization that made headlines just last month when a GOP-backed measure to defund NPR passed in the House. (By the way, NPR does not currently receive any direct federal funding; 2% of its revenue comes from grants from federally funded agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Department of Education; the largest share of its revenue comes from member stations, who in turn have about 10% of their revenue from the CPB and another 6% from the local, state and federal government.)

Here’s where the irony comes in: UO’s president and founder, Richard Hayne, is a strong supporter of the Republican party, personally contributing thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and political action committees throughout the last decade. So by seemingly supporting NPR, one’s T-shirt dollars go (indirectly) into the pocket of Mr. Hayne, who turns around and gives it to those who want to defund the national syndicator that the shirt promotes.

What’s even more, is that the same custom t-shirt is available for purchase through NPR’s own online store – and for $4 less.

The moral of the story? Make sure you know exactly to whom you are licensing your brand, and who is really benefiting from your support.

Learn more about this story here.

Manager – Content

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