Like a lot of marketing that gets people talking, it's tough to decide which bucket New Era Cap's latest product innovations fit into, targeting, as they do, that oft-ignored customer segment, the urban gang member and his admirers.
New designs featuring the colors and symbols of violent street gangs like the Latin Kings, the Bloods and Crips are causing the expected outrage. New Era, which got an Ad Age seal of approval here, began its march to become a big urban brand back in 1996 when it created a customized New York Yankees cap at the behest of Spike Lee. The new lids are decidedly more controversial. Said one protester to the New York Post, "It is a scandal that corporate American is profiting on the blood of our kids."