9/11 Store Promotions Draw Social Media Fury

When it comes to moments or dates of particular significance in our country, businesses would serve themselves well to avoid exploiting them to turn a quick buck.

In two days, we will commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With the memories of that day still so fresh in the minds of many Americans, the notion of having 9/11-themed sales and promotions touches a raw nerve. Yet, that hasn’t stopped it from happening. A couple of years back, I shared how a yoga studio found itself in hot water¬†over how it calculated 20% discount in its Twitter offer (“9+11=20% OFF!”) On top of that, it took several tweeted excuses before the company finally apologized.

It seems that, years later, some companies still haven’t picked up on why they might be best served to not use this day as an excuse for a sale.

A Florida Walmart found itself dealing with the wrath of angry social media users after a customer visiting the store snapped a picture of one of its displays. The display had cases of Coke Zero stacked up to resemble the Twin Towers with a sign commemorating 9/11 and another sign advertising their rollback price of $3.33 a case. Presumably, this meant that the items there were for sale and meant that these towers could be taken down, if people were in the market for some Coke Zero that day.

Comments ranged from snarky to disgusted.

The store says the design came from the local Coca Cola distributor. The distributor has since apologized.

However, this was nothing compared to an online ad by Texas-based Miracle Mattress company.

As the video opens, the spokesperson is out front with two people standing behind her, to either side. Behind them, a two “towers” of stacked mattresses. The spokesperson starts off by saying “What better way to remember 9/11 than with a ‘Twin Towers’ sale?” After they run down their spiel about how all mattress sizes are on sale for the price of a twin mattress, the spokesperson throws her arms back, causing each guy in the back to fall into one of the towers, toppling them. Then, the spokesperson lets out a fake shriek of horror and utters the line “We’ll never forget.”

The internet was abuzz with talk about the sale, but not in a way Miracle Mattress would have liked. They have been slammed by hordes of social media users and there are even calls to boycott the business. Miracle Mattress pulled the video, though others have since re-posted it. Store owner, Mike Bonnano issued the following apology:

“I say this unequivocally, with sincere regret: the video is tasteless and an affront to the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11. Furthermore, it disrespects the families who lost their loved ones and continue to struggle with the pain of this tragedy every day of their lives… I am disgusted such a video would have been conceived as a promotional tool…And even more incensed it was created and posted on any social media site that represents Miracle Mattress.”

If the owner was indeed unaware of this video, a housecleaning may be in order.

Nonetheless, let these stories serve as warnings for those who take national days of remembrance as opportunities for sales. Just don’t do it.

Helping you to avoid killing your career in 140 characters.