This year's offensive 9/11 ads: Walmart 911 display, Twin Towers mattress sale

Outrage over mattress company's 9/11 ad
Outrage over mattress company's 9/11 ad


    Outrage over mattress company's 9/11 ad


Outrage over mattress company's 9/11 ad 01:08

Story highlights

  • A display uses Coke cans to mimic the towers
  • A store creates a tasteless ad to tout a 9/11 sale

(CNN)Memo to businesses:

9/11 is NOT a holiday. You can't have 9/11 sales. You can't use it for crass marketing gimmicks. You can't put out insensitive tweets.
    Just don't.
    While that may seem a completely obvious concept for the rest of us to grasp, for some advertisers? Not so much.
    And that's why, every year around the anniversary of the attacks, we are left dumbfounded over and over again by the sheer boneheaded-ness, the utter tone-deafness of some commercials.
    Below is this year's crop, starting with one that is jaw-droppingly thoughtless because clearly no one was thinking.

    'The Twin Towers' sale

    By now, you've most definitely seen this in your Facebook feed - the most misguided marketing EVER.
    Something possessed Miracle Mattress in San Antonio, Texas, to have a "Twin Towers sale" and to promote it with a commercial making light of the September 11 attacks.
    In the ad, mattresses are stacked side by side in two vertical columns to resemble the World Trade Center towers while a woman announces a sale on all mattresses for a "twin price."
    Two men who are standing behind her then crash into the mattresses, toppling them. The woman feigns shock, then turns to the camera and says, "We'll never forget."
    Yes, really.
    Obviously, in the face of immediate backlash, store owner Mike Bonanno issued an apology that did little to temper the outrage.
    "I say this unequivocally, with sincere regret: the video is tasteless and an affront to the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11," he wrote.
    "I am disgusted such a video would have been conceived as a promotional tool. And even more incensed it was created and posted on any social media site that represents Miracle Mattress."
    On Friday, Bonanno took things a step further, saying on the company Facebook page that the Miracle Mattress store will close "indefinitely."
    "There is very little we can do to take away the hurt we have caused, but we can begin with silence through the Anniversary and then do our best to follow up with actions that reflect the seriousness of our mistake," Bonanno said.

    The 9/11 Coke can display

    Next up: Two mammoth marketers, one giant blunder.
    Someone should have told this Walmart in Panama City Beach that Coke Zero and Ground Zero should not be equated.
    The store put up a display that used Coke and Sprite boxes to create an American flag backdrop. In front of it, Coke Zero packages were stacked to resemble the towers. A banner above read, "We will never forget."
    Shoppers were -- surprise! -- not amused. And the display was quickly taken down.
    Walmart said it didn't mean any disrespect. It told Orlando Weekly that Coke approaches Walmart with display ideas and the supermarket had approved the display.