You may have heard the buzz about a commercial for a mattress company that has offended nearly all members of the free world by offering a Twin Towers mattress sale. Granted it must be hard to come up with interesting ways to increase mattress sales, but THIS was probably not the best idea to come along.
Is Everything Bigger in Texas?
The unofficial slogan when it comes to the Lone Star state is “everything’s bigger in Texas.” This is a bragging right normally reserved for things that are beneficial, such as steaks, burgers or homes. Employees at Miracle Mattress in San Antonio, Texas that created the ad are quickly finding out how bad the aftertaste can be when you open your mouth and insert foot. This is easily a commercial of epic proportions when it comes to alienating the buying public through undeniably distasteful behavior and words. You better believe fellow Texans are shaking their heads in disbelief at the weak apology released by owner Mike Bonanno, which is not helping matters.
The Play-By-Play Offense
The offense offered by a simple 20 second Miracle Mattress sale advertisement was one that went against the sensibilities of most humans that have compassion for those families still suffering from losing loved ones on 9/11. There is no particular spot to look at and point a finger. The entire commercial is disturbingly offensive. Here is the play-by-play breakdown:
- Two men standing in front of towers of twin mattresses
- Back and forth banter about the price of any mattress being the same as a twin size
- Both men fall into the towering mattresses, knocking them down
- You can distinctly hear the woman screaming “Oh my God” as the men and mattresses hit the floor
- A small US flag had been strategically placed on top of one of the twin mattress piles
- The woman looks directly at the camera with a smile and says “We will never forget”
Finding humor in one of the nation’s biggest tragedies is not a winning advertising strategy. It is hard to say where they got the idea that a mere 15 years would be far enough away from the event to disregard the feelings of those deeply affected. Common sense did NOT prevail in this situation.
When the Gamble Does Not Pay Off
There are times that companies will take big risks and gamble that ads will garner enough attention to bring in fresh customers. Budweiser did this by purchasing multiple airing spots during the Superbowl for millions of dollars per slot. It is a good guess that they have already recouped their money and turned over profit. What this small company failed to realize is that it never pays off to alienate potential customers with rude and distasteful commercials. Any attention received will be negative.
Had the internet commercial been aired locally the backlash might have been containable, but adding it to the world wide web created the ability to go viral. This put their disturbing video in front of millions of potential viewers. The negative response was nearly immediate and overwhelming. The ad was pulled, but not before being captured and added to Youtube by a third party. It is a lesson for those not too tech savvy that you sometimes cannot undo what is done on the internet.
Taking a Time-Out
The actual mattress company is said to be “closing indefinitely,” but who knows what this means in terms of whether they have plans to reopen at some point in the future. There is a little advice they should heed if they do plan to reopen: hire a PR firm for damage control and change the name. A little sensitivity training might be in order for the employees that seemed to enjoy mocking one of the most horrific events in US modern history.