Kitson: A Case Study On Customer Sentiment

Kitson LA has released a new line of designer t-shirts that feature the names of prescription drugs. The shirts sell for $58 – $98 each and have caused a huge uproar. Many who have experienced the pain and in some cases loss of loved ones due to prescription drug overdoses have taken to social media to express disgust with this move.

Kitson drug shirt


People rushed to Facebook and Twitter to complain about the shirts. Nobody was shy with their language and fearless admission of their own past trauma associated with these drugs. Kitson decided to share the designer’s intention:

Kitson Press Release

This did little to quell the complaints. In fact, it only fueled the fire:

Kitson press release reaction

Here are some stats from

  • Every day in the US, 2,500 youth (12 to 17) abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.
  • A 2007 survey in the US found that 3.3% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 6% of 17- to 25-year-olds had abused prescription drugs in the past month.
  • Prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing.
  • By survey, almost 50% of teens believe that prescription drugs are much safer than illegal street drugs—60% to 70% say that home medicine cabinets are their source of drugs.
  • Depressants, opioids and antidepressants are responsible for more overdose deaths (45%) than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamines (39%) combined.

Some feel that the designs are nothing more than art. Certainly that is the position that Kitson is taking. The question becomes, what cost are you willing to pay for art? We’ve covered a number of sentiment issues in the past and in many cases the brand quickly retracts their position. This is proving to be a different case. What would you do in this case?

Oh, one last thing. They did get one celebrity endorsement… Lindsay Lohan: