It’s a day marking a major event in history, one that calls for solemn remembrance and respect. So of course cynical brands are going to find a way to appropriate it for self-promotion.
AT&T was forced to apologize today after it tweeted a 9/11 related tribute that many found in poor taste. The tweet, (since deleted) contained the words “Never Forget” and a picture of a smartphone showing the area where the Twin Towers once stood in the New York skyline.
Here’s the picture:
As Buzzfeed put it, “This is not the time for an Oreo moment.” After an immediate backlash on Twitter with followers calling out AT&T for cynically taking advantage of the day, AT&T issued an apology saying, “We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste. The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy.”
Which didn’t do much to quell the hate tweets coming at it.
This is yet another example of a brand being completely tone-deaf on an important occasion, and now it’s getting ridiculous. Why do brands feel the need to send out something on social media that absolutely has to include some element of self promotion? Would it kill AT&T to send out a single piece of communication without a reminder that it sells smartphones! and you must buy them immediately?
Just when you think this was an isolated incident, the LA Lakers got in on the act as well, by inexplicably tweeting this picture of Kobe Bryant with the #NeverForget tag (also deleted.)
The day’s only half over, expect more brands to tie themselves in knots trying the best way to cynically pay their respects but self-promote at the same time.