Note to businesses around the world. Don't do this. Ever.
"Remember Pearl Harbor With Bombs and Kamikazes."
When Murphy's Bleachers put up that sign connecting the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor tragedy with bar drinks, the response on social media was swift and in many cases harsh.
@WSDreaming_Cubs tweeted: Murphy's Bleachers should be ashamed of themselves. Their promotion today is a complete disgrace.
@CSNBaggs tweeted: Well, time to toss out my Murphy's Bleachers T-shirt. SMH.
The business apologized and took the marquee down, but the damage was already done. In the age of social media, it takes a matter of seconds to post a photo, take a screengrab or spread a less-than-desirable message around the world.
Just a few hours before this story broke, social media was all over Spaghetti Os for its attempt to remember Pearl Harbor. The Twitter handle @SpaghettiOs posted a photo of a smiling cartoon noodle holding an American flag with the words “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.”
If you're asking what a pasta popular with kids has to do with Pearl Harbor, you're not alone. Businesses have humans posting for them, but that doesn't mean they should try to address tragedies and important points in history.
And sadly, this is far from the first time this type of thing has happened.
During the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, food website Epicurious tweeted this now famous line: “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!" And then they linked to a recipe on its website. That brand later apologized too, but the negative reaction on social media was overwhelming.
The social media lesson is that not everything is about the brand.
A great example of that came on the most recent anniversary of Sept. 11, when several brands thought it wise to connect what they do with a recent American tragedy that killed more than 3,000 people. AT&T tweeted on that day about its phones, while Marriott offered discounts on muffins at breakfast. And a golf course offered a $9.11 round of golf.
The examples go on nearly forever. American Apparel and the Gap tweeted insensitively during Hurricane Sandy. Kenneth Cole compared the Arab Spring with its spring line. A Home Depot tweet had people crying racism. Some bad words starting with an f came from Nokia New Zealand's Twitter page.
Again, the bottom line is businesses must realize there's a line between promoting itself and injecting itself into the news. Usually the two don't mix, so when in doubt resist the urge.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun