Adidas kicked off a humiliating social media campaign to promote its new jersey for a British soccer team – by inadvertently tweeting out images of the shirt bearing anti-Semitic and racist messages.
The German sportswear goliath launched its #DareToCreate campaign on Monday to market the shirt for the Arsenal team in London, according to the UK’s Guardian.
The retailer encouraged its more than 800,000 followers on Twitter to share the hashtag, which automatically created virtual Arsenal jerseys bearing users’ handles on their backs.
“This is home. Welcome to the squad,” read a message (which now appears to be deleted) posted by the official @AdidasUK account with the generated image, along with a link to buy the shirt.
But things went horribly wrong when the campaign was hijacked by trolls with offensive handles, including @GasAllJewss, and shirts began popping up online with messages such as “Innocent Hitler.”
Other miscreants used the handles @96wasnotenough and @MadelineMcCann – references to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster when 96 fans were crushed to death inside a soccer stadium, and the 2007 disappearance of a young British girl in Portugal.
The offensive tweets have since been deleted, and many of the offenders have been suspended by Twitter.
Adidas responded to the fiasco in a statement.
“As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal we have been made aware of the abuse of a Twitter personalization mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey.
“Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this we have immediately turned off the functionality and the Twitter team will be investigating.”
A Twitter spokesperson told The Post in a statement: “We regret that this functionality has been abused in this way and are taking steps to ensure we protect the health of the interactions with this account.
The rep added: “We have already taken action on a number of accounts for violating our policies and will continue to take strong enforcement action against any content that breaks our rules.”
A message sent to Arsenal was not immediately returned.
In a statement to The Guardian, the team said: “We totally condemn the use of language of this nature, which has no place in our game or society.
“We work hard as a club to encourage diversity and inclusion through our Arsenal for Everyone program, launched in 2008 as a celebration of the diversity of the Arsenal family.
“Through a number of initiatives undertaken in the community, inside Emirates Stadium and throughout the club, Arsenal strives to ensure that everyone associated with the club feels an equal sense of belonging.”
The botched promotion drew parallels to a 2014 social media campaign by the New England Patriots that led to offensive names showing up on the back of the team’s jersey, according to CNN.
By Yaron Steinbuch