Marketing mess-up: People furious with AT&T’s ‘tacky’ attempt to honor 9/11 victims

atttwitterphoto

AT&T tweeted this photo out today in remembrance of 9/11.

AT&T tried to honor those affected by the 9/11 tragedy today with a photo, but it doesn’t look like it was a great marketing move thus far.

The mobile carrier just tweeted out the photo to the right with the Manhattan skyline at night and the words “Never Forget.” Someone is holding a smartphone with an image of the “Tribute in Light” from the National September 11 Memorial that fills out the actual photo itself.

People aren’t exactly supportive of the image, as you can see below. What do you think? Bad move by AT&T?

Update, 10:21 a.m. — AT&T just tweeted an apology:

Update, 10:24 a.m. — Looks like AT&T just took the tweeted photo down, but some damage was done.

  • Guest

    How offensive. Once the remaining 19 months of my contract are over, I’m DONE with AT&T.

    • tonysolo

      Thank God AT&T exploited mass murder so you could get that crack in.

      • Guest

        Can’t make an omelette without killing a few people.

  • Mark J

    I don’t see a problem with it. Our generation carry their memories and knowledge in their smartphones.

    • SadNewWorld

      “Our generation carry their memories and knowledge in their smartphones.”

      How true and incredibly sad that sentence is.

  • Birdonawire45

    They’re doing nothing more than the stores promoting their Memorial Day Sales and Veteran’s Day Sales. Too soon? YES. Acceptable? Eventually (sadly).

    • andruwww

      Incorrect, Memorial Day and Veteran Day sales do not show the battlegrounds where soliders died.

      • dkdynorites

        This picture is tasteful. Celebrating fallen soldiers with picnics and half off sales is not. You’re a fool.

  • Sam Storey

    I think it is creative and clever.

    • Sam Storey

      Also, its not even an ad, its the company showing its respects and taking part in the community. No product or service was even mentioned…

      • andruwww

        Except the product in the middle of the image they tweeted.

        • tillman

          Ah, a generic smartphone. Something that is a part of everyone’s life now in some shape or form. With no branding or carrier logo. Please tell me, specifically, what product they’re trying to sell in this photo?

          • andruwww

            First off, let me sincerely apologizing for harshing your hard-on for your mobile service provider.

            The problem with your position is that AT&T doesn’t sell a product, they sell a service. I wonder what service that generic smartphone without a carrier logo is using … hmmmm? Its probably not Verizon.

            You obviously don’t work in the design or marketing fields so its not surprising you don’t understand how inappropriate this tweet was. Thousands of companies Tweeted a message of #NeverForget, most of them choose not to depict the product or service they provide with their tweet of remembrance. AT&T did. Bad taste. Bad marketing.

          • phranzz

            You have to want to be offended to let this offend you. It’s a PHONE company using a PHONE to relay a message of remembrance. Budweiser made a commercial in commemoration but no one cared about that at all. Just because twitter is on the internet already, it was convenient for people to get angry (and surely very self gratifying for people like yourself.) There should be no taboo on companies posting messages like this to pay respect with the rest of the nation.

  • http://kevinchau.org/ Kevin Chau

    People are screaming “PRODUCT PLACEMENT” like it’s “murder”. But someone please tell me what product they’re trying to promote? There’s not a single logo, brand, or anything distinguishable on the image.

    Fwiw, Any company could have posted that image.

    • andruwww

      Except they didn’t. AT&T did. That’s what is being talked about.

      • chakky

        You obviously missed the point. Please stop trolling.

    • LackOfEducationMuch?

      “Fwiw”??

      Is everyone too f*cking lazy to spell out words anymore?!?

  • http://www.mntorch.com/ stepbackonce

    If you were offended by that you weren’t old enough or care enough to remember what actually happened.

    Get over it? I think that was the Point here -never forget.

    • andruwww

      This is a really ignorant comment seeing that most the people that are offended not only were alive when the attack happened, they also lived in the city.

      How does knowing what happened make this image any more appropriate?

      • http://www.mntorch.com/ stepbackonce

        Ignorant? you seem unable to differentiate a respectful message from as disrespectful one. Where is the disrespect or advertisement in this message. There isn’t even a single brand shown. Of AT&T or anyone else.

        Nuf said

        • andruwww

          Actually, I was commenting on how your comment was ignorant. Saying that people that were insulted by this ad either “weren’t old enough or care enough to remember what actually happened”, is ignorant. You do not own the rights to deem what others find inappropriate.

          Nuf said.

  • kathy

    You’re all fucking stupid for thinking they’re advertising. There’s no logo on it anywhere. That’s like you taking a picture and photoshopping it onto a background. Fuck off and leave ATT&T alone. You’re all ignorant and dramatic, small-minded fucktards.

    • http://texrat.net/ aka texrat

      Ironic.

    • andruwww

      Awww, are people picking on the poor $126.723 Billion company. This was distasteful.

      • tootops

        Companies should be allowed to makes tasteful messages as people can. You’re a petty troll if you don’t get that.

      • http://www.mntorch.com/ stepbackonce

        jealous much? Are you the 99%? lol get a job.

  • Harkonnen

    It is nice that they tried to commemorate 9/11 but placing a hand with a phone it looks like an ad tied to the back of a tragedy. A simple message without a product (even a generic one like that), on behalf of the entire organization, would have sufficed.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    The mix of responses below and through Twitter show that it’s just risky speaking to something very raw and emotional without being 100% clear and explicit in your message.

    And an image with no text that features your offering in the center is going to be perceived by some, rightly or wrongly, as advertising with product placement rather than a tribute, whatever your intent.

    I think Hanlon’s Razor applies here: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor). I’m sure it was actually meant as a tribute but no one raised a hand and said “Uh, I think this could be taken the wrong way”. I’ve seen plenty of marketing campaigns take an unexpected bad bounce like this because no on thought to look at it to see how it could be misconstrued.

    • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

      An interesting contrast to this is this ad from Budweiser that people I know are posting again today. My understanding is they aired this only once. That plus some of the things they do in the ad (the lack of specific product placement, having the iconic Clydesdales lower their heads and other things) more clearly conveys, I think, tribute than advertising.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3eQmzw6n3k

  • The Cappy

    I honestly didn’t think it was all that tacky. I first saw it in the light of people being angry, but I think when it was incubating in the company, people were thinking it was a very moving image. People are always on a hair trigger these days. It’s like they scour the internet just looking for a place to direct their rage. They look at a thing and say “Can I find a reason to be angry at this?” instead of “Is this something that genuinely deserves anger?”

  • samadams72

    If celebrities and higher class people are saying it’s bad, then why are the simpletons below saying it’s not…Oh wait..no brainer.. Simpleton is key word

  • http://about.me/confusedesi Partha Biswal

    I just chanced upon this and don’t know if I’ll get an answer from the community but here’s my question. How is the picture people are angry at tacky and this one’s not? Not a little known fact, that picture was tweeted by AT&T on 9/11/2012 and lauded for being sensitive and hopeful.