Most brands love edgy, viral marketing campaigns. On social media, a little bit of controversy is an extremely effective way of getting your brand’s name out there. This is why Kenneth Cole famously publishes intentionally offensive tweets just for the exposure.
But exploiting the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks crosses a pretty clear red line between strategically controversial and downright tacky.
Today’s worst offender so far is AT&T’s Twin Towers tweet:
Exploiting national tragedies for marketing purposes is gamble that most consumer brands should not take. What works for an outspoken designer like Kenneth Cole is usually a PR disaster for a more vanilla consumer brand like AT&T.
And most importantly, it’s tacky.
Don’t be tacky. Let’s stop this now.
Update: AT&T issued an apology tweet.
Coincidentally, what probably would have been more effective (and less controversial) is a simple, image-free tweet such as “The team at AT&T is taking a moment to remember all those we lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”
Less would have been way, way more here.