It seems that every year around September 11th, a brand will conjure images of the tragic events that took place in 2001 and every year it seems to backfire. For some reason, marketing “experts” want to appear to be sympathizing with American citizens who remember that terrible day but they’ve always come off as tone deaf and patronizing. After all, using a national tragedy to sell anything just screams bad idea. The most recent brand to be under scrutiny for a 9/11-releated advertising display is the Coca-Cola Company.
After photos went viral of a display of Coke products at a Wal-Mart in Florida resembling the Twin Towers with the text, “We Will Never Forget,” people were unhappy. Social media users criticized the display, calling it “disgusting” and “exploitative.” The backlash caused the Wal-Mart to take their display down.
Perhaps next September brands and the marketing geniuses behind them will choose not to try and exploit a national tragedy. Even if their intentions are good, trying to sell a product by recalling images of that fateful day are completely unnecessary. It shouldn’t take a social media firestorm to show a brand the error of their ways.