AT&T Uses 9/11 to Advertise Phone, Predictable Results Ensue

Wow, some marketers are really, really, really dumb, aren’t they? I’m not referring to you, of course, or anyone you know; I’m sure you’re all super smart. No, I’m referring to whoever handles AT&T’s Twitter account and decided to use the anniversary of 9/11 to try to sell smartphones.

Yes, you read that right. The offending tweet features a picture of someone viewing the 9/11 memorial “Tribute in Light” display through a Blackberry Z10 smartphone, with the tagline “Never Forget.”

I mean…

Really, AT&T social media person?  Was this vetted by your supervisors? Senior executives? Anyone with eyes to see and a brain to think?  Because you don’t have to be an expert on social media marketing to realize that this is just a profoundly god-awful idea.

Of course the result was an entirely predictable backlash from other Twitter users, expressing varying degrees of revulsion, which prompted the AT&T Twitter account to post this apology: “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.”

Pardon me, but if that were the case, what’s up with the phone?  What exactly does the new Blackberry Z10 have to do with the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history? If AT&T can provide a convincing answer to that question, I will eat my hat.

I guess it could have been worse. For example: “Never Forget… thanks to automated appointment reminders on your new Blackbery Z10!” Or: “Never Forget… that AT&T offers the fastest connections of any major wireless carrier!”

How about this?  “Never forget that every expression of sentiment, of apparently genuine human feeling, you will ever see on this social media account is just a deeply cynical and manipulative attempt to shill our products to you, the idiotic consumer, because frankly we figure you’re too dumb to see through it.”

Oh wait, that’s too many characters.
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1 comment about "AT&T Uses 9/11 to Advertise Phone, Predictable Results Ensue".
  1. Trish Conklin from Best Friends Animal Society , September 11, 2013 at 8:34 p.m.
    I think this is a ridiculous overreaction to something many marketers have done. So why was this ever okay? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3eQmzw6n3k