As we pass the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, a lot of people and companies had shown their support for those affected through their actions and through social media. Many companies like AT&T shared their thoughts and messages through social media updates. While its great to show your support, it sends a different message if you’re trying to put any form of marketing behind it.
This tweet sparked a large outrage across twitter which prompted AT&T to delete the tweet posted about an hour after it was released. A message from AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson was later posted on their website directly addressing the tweet shared.
We’re big believers that social media is a great way to engage with our customers because the conversation is constant, personal and dynamic.
Yesterday, we did a post on social media intended to honor those impacted by the events of 9/11. Unfortunately, the image used in the post fell woefully short of honoring the lives lost on that tragic day.
I want to personally express to our customers, employees, and all those impacted by the events of 9/11 my heartfelt apologies. I consider that date a solemn occasion each year, a time when I reach out to those I was with on that awful day, share a moment of reflection for the lives lost and express my love of country. It is a day that should never be forgotten and never, ever commercialized. I commit AT&T to this standard as we move forward.
–Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO
I understand why people are upset. This was a real cheap shot for a marketing campaign, but I’m not angry. I’m disappointed that such a large company would have approved this. I’m a young marketer and I realize we are all one bad message away from a career ending post. This is not that post. Although this shouldn’t have happened, it’s not suppressing how disconnected departments can be from each other in a large company. AT&T had handled the damage control very well by removing the tweet and prompting a personal message from the CEO. By the degree of the message I don’t believe anyone should be fired over this.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this was grossly insensitive or do you think the proper action was taken and we should carry on?