Just a quick reminder: 14 years ago today close to 3,000 people died in the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United States. Each of those people were individuals with their own identities and lives, hopes and dreams, fears and frustrations. Each one had friends and family that still mourn their loss to this day. The events of that day deeply and irrevocably scarred not only those directly impacted by the tragedy, but also our country as a whole.
So maybe, just maybe, today is not the day for you to use the anniversary to promote your brand on social media.
For God's sake ...
I've written about this sort of thing before: Branding is a game of positive association, and today many social media managers are trying to figure out a way to get their brand linked up in the minds of their customers and followers with the feelings of resilient patriotism and sorrowful yet steadfast togetherness that we've come to associate with 9/11 and its anniversaries. It's natural, and even well-intended, to want to honor the events of that day in some way. But there is, in my mind, absolutely no way for a brand to do so without coming off as tacky and tone deaf.
Thousands dead, that deserves a sale.
And that's in the best case scenario. Worst case, your brand comes of as a greedy asshole, cashing in on pain like a 9/11 commemorative plate in the form of a Twitter feed. This happens every year, to the point where silly lists of tasteless brand tweets are a go-to piece of filler for website and news writers the day after any 9/11 anniversary.
Wrong, on so many levels.
In fact, the only brand that seemed to have had any kind sensible sentiment about the whole thing is Verizon, who summed up the only appropriate thing to do in one tweet:
Some things are bigger than a product, or a brand, or a company's marketing scheme. I wish there was more to say about it, but my sentiment can be summarized with this: Stop it. Some things are bigger than all of us.