The practice of using 9/11 to market consumer goods backfires yet again
Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson told the Orlando Weekly that the display, which was conceived by Coke and approved by Walmart, was currently being taken down.
Neither Walmart nor Coke is the first company to come under fire for invoking the national tragedy as a means to sell stuff.
Each year, companies roll out deals and tweets associated with the attacks, and each year they face a tidal wave of backlash and outrage in response.
Outrage builds after San Antonio mattress company makes Twin Tower commercial
Outrage is building after a San Antonio mattress company aired a “Twin Tower sale” video, days before the 15th anniversary of the deadly attack that killed nearly 3,000 people. The 20 second Miracle Mattress video opens with three people standing in front of two stacks of mattresses. (video courtesy of Jamie Barrientos)
+Commentary: This is beyond offensive, and indicative of the general disregard by certain marketers for the gravitas of the situation. We can search the why’s and how’s these could have happened all day, but won’t arrive at one singular conclusion. We could opine that being edgy has caused certain marketers to take these unnecessary risks, or that their patriotism combined with their capitalism blurs the lines, and even posit that those in charge of creating these marketing ploys were too young to fully appreciate that day or its symbolic and real impact on the lives of many.
That companies as large as both Coca-Cola and Walmart were involved this time, in what was basically a poorly thought out and executed “tribute” by way of placing it on sale, means that in 15 years we have indeed come to think of it as just another way to exploit sympathies in our consumer-driven culture. Granted most people would find this offensive, especially those that lived through the day.
Just in case anyone is unclear on this, retweeting does not in any way show respect to the dead, or ease the grief of their families. Asking for retweets is a shameless, selfish way to promote your own account and nothing more. If you want to pay your respects, pay them. Send up a prayer, visit the memorial, or by all means tweet your sentiments. But adding “Retweet to show respect” strips your message of any humanity, and turns it from a genuine statement of grief to a shameless plug for you.
Yet here we are days away from the 15th anniversary of the somber September 11th remembrances and there are always new ways to become offensive. In the years to come, I’d imagine there will be more of these, they are (on one level) to be expected, and hopefully in each instance these further illuminate for those that might be considering using this moment (or others) for their own marketing, even to gain more ‘influence’ on Social Media. Giving pause before trying to appear edgy or offensive for the sake of consumption and selling something. We can always hope.