Wick Communications

Selling 9/11 is a bad idea

In Ethics on 12 Sep 2013 at 1:39 pm

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Luckily, you can only make this mistake once a year. Unfortunately, you have many more opportunities to be insensitive over the course of the year.

I’m going to be magnanimous and suggest that golf course managers – and AT&T spin doctors and Aol webmasters among many others – meant well. It appears to me that they all meant to pay tribute in some way to a solemn occasion. But they all screwed up by adding their own commerce into the mix.

There are two urges at work. The first is to be part of a wide conversation. This week, tt seems everyone is posting 9/11 tributes on Facebook and writing remembrances on Twitter with #neverforget hashtags. So why not your newspaper?

Secondly, we are all looking for offbeat ways to market our products. Many of us take the calendar down from the wall and consider all those holidays and such. Can we have a Valentine’s Day sale? How about a tie-in to Labor Day? Well, why not tie your product to the patriotism that sometimes surrounds remembrances of 9/11?

Because it’s insensitive, that’s why. Whatever money you make from the promotion is sure to be offset by the bad will create. You should both trust your gut and ask others whom you trust whenever you consider some new promotion. …

You may think it sounds like a swell idea to have a sale on black-and-white ads to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but I hope you will ask around first. Talk to the people around you. Ask your publisher. Call me. You don’t want to have to go through the stuff that golf course manager has had to endure this week.

— Clay


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