Note: I originally wrote this post a few months ago. I am posting it today to send a message to companies everywhere — the tragedies of this week are not an opportunity for you. Please do not treat them as such.
In the wake of tragedy, I can’t really wrap my head around how the reaction of some companies and organizations is “How can we capitalize on this?”
Sending heartfelt condolences or standing in solidarity is one thing — it shows your company is real, human, and affected by the events of the world.
But this is not the time to be “clever” or “stand out from the noise.” A simple and sincere “we’re here, and we’re with you” is more than enough.
If you’re not sure, don’t post anything.
Last September, I received the following email. I was immediately struck by the subject line: “14 years later, advertising has been an outreach tool of the church.”
They couldn’t possibly be writing an email explaining how September 11 helped their marketing campaign, could they?
Well, yes they could.
I showed this email to a few people that were with me at the time to see if I was being oversensitive (something I’m not typically accused of).
The reaction on every face was the same — pure dismay.
The UMC has not, unfortunately, been the only organization to try to “capitalize” on tragedy in the past.
In 2014, a hashtag was trending #WhyIStayed. The hashtag was an outlet for abused women to tell their stories — stories of horror and of survival, and of hope. Many women credited the stories for the final push to leave abusive situations.
DiGiorno Pizza tweeting the following:
Following the bombing at the Boston Marathon, one company tweeted a solution: scones!
This reads as insensitive and crass. People are dying and you are making light of the situation.
Again, if you don’t know what to say… say nothing.