A national tragedy is not a marketing opportunity — so after two stores used 9/11 as a way to sell products, people were understandably outraged. One Walmart in Panama City, FL, created a display of the Twin Towers and an American flag using Coca-Cola products under a banner that read "We will never forget." The display was apparently sponsored by Coca-Cola, since its logo was on the banner. When a customer tweeted a picture of the soda display, it quickly went viral.
Florida c'mon man pic.twitter.com/HU4y2rxgFG— chip malfunction (@online_shawn) September 6, 2016
The store has since apologized and explained that Coke approached them with the display that Coke had approved. The spokesperson for Walmart also told The Orlando Weekly that the display was being disassembled. The Coca-Cola bottler for the region apologized for the display as well. According to the Associated Press, Coke said, "We sincerely apologize that anyone was offended or misunderstood its intent, and we have replaced the display."
Perhaps more insensitive is this ad from a mattress store in San Antonio. In a video to advertise the "twin towers sale," Miracle Mattress promotes a deal where you can purchase a mattress for a "twin price." If that wasn't bad enough, after the woman in the video announces the terms of the twin sale, two men behind her fall into stacked mattresses meant to serve as towers. The woman screams and says, "We will never forget."
— Miracle Mattress (@MiracleMattress) September 8, 2016
After the video went viral and sparked outrage, the company released an apology; Mike Bonanno, the owner of Miracle Mattress, condemned the unapproved video and said the employees would be held accountable for their actions. He wrote that "the video is tasteless and an affront to the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11."
Hopefully this will serve as a lesson for future companies who consider using 9/11 as a marketing tool.
— ali sherrow (@AliCossa) September 9, 2016
— Joe Hansbarger (@Joe_Hansbarger) September 9, 2016