10468444_10204488448190794_2085161473244327134_n

The clothing retailer Lands’ End apparently thought it was doing a good deed by sending an unsolicited copy of GQ magazine with the above cover. The inside photos, of model Emily Ratajkowski, GQ’s self-titled “Girl Of Summer,” are even more provocative, according to the GQ website, which publishes them. It’s hard to tell which content on its website is also in the magazine, but it appears that these two, among the top five most read articles on the site, are in the magazine as well: “The Most Important Moments In Naked TV History” and “The Gentleman’s Guide To Anal Sex.”

A reader whose wife went ballistic on Lands End for sending this magazine tipped me off to the hellacious beating the clothing retailer is receiving on its Facebook page from moms it infuriated. A sampling:

I received this magazine in the mail with a note indicating that it was a “Land’s End Bonus”. I was never asked if I wanted it nor was I given any indication that if I ordered I would receive this magazine in the mail. Is this really the image you want associated with your brand? I DO NOT want to receive “the definitive men’s magazine, with …sexy women” (from GQ’s description of their magazine) with my order of children’s clothing, and I have heard from many other mothers who feel the same way. Shame on you, Land’s End.

And:

Just got your sleezy GQ Magazine delivered as a bonus offer today. Really?! All I ordered was some fun summer swim wear and summer shirts for my family and I get some trashy magazine with naked woman on the front cover delivered to my mail box for my 10 year old to see? I really thought you had more class than that. Thanks Lands End. You can keep your bonus offers. You just lost a customer.

And:

Put me on your “seriously irritated” customer list. I too received your “bonus” smutty magazine. Was this my bonus for ordering uniforms for my grade school son?? What was your marketing dept thinking?? I will be rethinking ordering from you & will be discussing with our school the appropriateness of partnering with you any longer. Don’t blame me for signing up for it as you have past complaints. I didn’t. Don’t bother with your canned apology. “You didn’t mean to offend…” Well, what did you expect?? Your marketing dept seriously needs to learn how to do accurate research on your customer base.

On and on and on it goes. I can’t imagine what kind of marketing department for a middle-of-the-road clothing retailer — one that until this spring, was owned by Sears, and heaven knows you can’t get more square than that — decides a magazine like GQ is appropriate to send unsolicited to its customers. My guess is a marketing department whose decision-makers don’t have children.

I have to say that it shocked me to go to the GQ site and see what has happened to the magazine. I used to read it in college and in my early twenties. That was 25 years ago. It has gone all smutty and laddish now.

UPDATE: Lands’ End is apologizing. The reader who tipped me off to the controversy passes on this e-mail his wife received from the company:

I would like to start by extending my most sincere apologies regarding the latest issue of GQ magazine that you received in the mail this past weekend.  We made a serious error and we are truly sorry for this unfortunate situation. It was never our intention to offend our customers who received this offer.

Before I go any further I want to assure you that your feedback to our call center and blog post has not gone unnoticed. We have been working today within our teams to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.  We are also sending a letter to customers tomorrow morning letting them know that if they have not already received the magazine they could receive one this week and to be on alert.  What’s more, we have removed all of our customers’ names from the GQ subscription list and have instead switched the subscription to Condé Nast Traveler magazine.   

 As a company, we are extremely apologetic that our customers have received this particular magazine on our behalf. In no way do the images or articles featured in the magazine reflect our company values.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss this matter further. I am available to talk any time on Tuesday.

Sincerely,

Michele Casper

Sr. Director Public Relations

Lands’ End