AT&T deletes 9/11 tweet after Internet pounces

The company posted a photo of a cell phone showing the memorial lights at the site of the World Trade Center. The image was immediately criticized.

By Kim Peterson Sep 11, 2013 4:10PM
Screen grab of AT&T’s Twitter post (AT&T via Twitter, via FinancialPost.com)AT&T (T) was getting widely criticized Wednesday for a tweet that managed to promote its phone service while remembering 9/11.

The company posted a Twitter photo of a cell phone showing the Tribute in Light memorial lights at the site of the World Trade Center in New York. "Never Forget," the accompanying caption read.

It didn't take long for commenters to slam the company's marketing misfire, and AT&T responded by taking the photo down.

"Not an occasion for product placement, AT&T," wrote Mashable reporter Lauren Indvik. Another Twitter user added this: "And the award for most tacky 9/11-themed advertising goes to. . . AT&T!"

The jokes began pouring in, too. "Oreo is really rethinking that 'creme plane flies into twin cookie towers' tweet it's about to put up," wrote one Twitter user.

AT&T apologized shortly after. "We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste," the company said on Twitter. "The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy."

This type of marketing fail occurs every year on the anniversary of 9/11. MSN Money's Bruce Kennedy recently wrote about a Wisconsin golf course getting knocked for offering nine holes for $9.11.

Dennis Jansen, a social media strategist at the Risdall advertising agency, wrote that AT&T could have sent a more effective and less controversial message by simply removing the image and tweeting something like this: "The team at AT&T is taking a moment to remember all those we lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks." Perhaps that's something AT&T's well-paid marketing staff should never forget.

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Tags: T
205Comments
Sep 11, 2013 4:43PM
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I don't find it offensive or in poor taste at all.
Sep 11, 2013 4:55PM
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I saw nothing offensive or distasteful about it.
Sep 11, 2013 4:53PM
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Which is worse: A company using this event to promote their service?  Or politians and actors publicly associating themselves with this in order to promote themselves? Anyone who steps up and makes a spectacle of themselves over this is just as bad.
Sep 11, 2013 4:31PM
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It will never be appropriate to memorialize 9/11 with ads or sales. Ever.
Sep 11, 2013 4:39PM
Sep 11, 2013 4:58PM
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WTF? Why is this an issue right now? I'm more concerned with Syria, and the thinly veiled looming threat of war with it's ally, Russia. Come on, it's not like they released a photo of two giant cell phones standing where the WTC buildings once stood.
Sep 11, 2013 5:11PM
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Well Heck, I'm offended that some wimp was offended and I bet that will offend someone else! Meanwhile, condolences to all who lost family and friends during 9/11 and may all be blessed!
Sep 11, 2013 5:28PM
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They are a phone company, and they used a phone to show an image of the twin towers.  Not seeing a problem.
Sep 11, 2013 4:43PM
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Anything for an ad. You pick up a telephone to dial.......you're forced to listen to an ad: you select a video to watch online......you're forced to watch an ad; you select any web page and it's filled with frickin ads; you change the cable station and there is ad.

 

The whole media thing has taken a sh!t and the ads are the enema. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Sep 11, 2013 5:03PM
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The thing that pissed me off the most was after 9/11 occurred and seeing all of the little red, white and blue "memorabilia" for sale everywhere.  Pins, hats, shirts, key chains, dog collars, you name it, it had a patriotic theme to it.  Plain and simple. Those idiots were making money off of a senseless tragedy. 
Sep 11, 2013 5:57PM
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I dont see whats wrong, its a cool picture.
Sep 11, 2013 5:28PM
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Someone has always gotta complain. Newsflash, ladies and gents, these people are not the enemy! Why criticize someone for their methods of attempting to honor the fallen? Are you not patriotic? Or are you just an over sensitive baby? Grow the hell up people.
Sep 11, 2013 5:22PM
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these people need to get a life. just because you don't like something or it offends YOU doesn't make it wrong 
Sep 11, 2013 5:23PM
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Budwiser did a 9/11 tribute not too long ago. Not much difference. No harm done in my opinion.
Sep 11, 2013 5:14PM
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So was everybody pissed off when they make all this money from doing movies or writing songs?
Sep 11, 2013 4:39PM
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I was afraid this might happen someday.  I hate to think of Patriot Day sales like there are Memorial Day sales.  
Sep 11, 2013 4:58PM
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Its life, get over it, like everything else in life that is negative.
Sep 11, 2013 5:24PM
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If you were in New York would you not take picture of this tribute to the fallen, with your phone, , I guess a lot would not, its a thing to remember and have as one of your pictures.
Sep 11, 2013 4:44PM
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Welcome to America! Everything is for sale...always be closing.
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